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Weekly Press Conference on the Progress of the Government 13 September 2014

Storyline:National News

The Minister for Information, Mustafa Duhulow, today addressed the media in Mogadishu, providing an update on the progress of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) over the last week. The Minister discussed various issues including: the importance of Public Engagement, the ongoing Consultation Process in Baidoa, the importance of Public Awareness Campaigns, an update on the Humanitarian Situation, progress in the Education sector, progress in Human Rights, progress on the Stabilization process and the Clean-up Campaign in Banadir.

The Minister for Information began by highlighting the importance of engaging with the public: “On 11th September 2014, H.E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia took part in a live event where he answered questions from the audience. The event was broadcasted live on SNTV and Radio Mogadishu. The aim of the program was to highlight the progress of the government over the last 2 years on the anniversary of the President’s election. The President gave an update on key areas such as security, political outreach to the regions, reconciliation efforts, the implementation of Federalism, the review of the constitution, the reform of the justice system and public finance management initiatives. The President said that much has been achieved despite the huge challenges that exist and the remaining tasks will be accomplished as scheduled. The President promised to take action on the issues raised by public and stated that our collective desire is to provide an environment that is conducive for the public to freely exercise their democratic rights and to elect their future leaders.”

The Minister of Information praised the Consultation process in Baidoa: “H.E. Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawaari, the Speaker of the Parliament is in Baidoa consulting with key stakeholders in the area. The Speaker announced a reconciliation conference that will start on Sunday 14th September 2014 that will include all key stakeholders in the South West regions. The aim of the conference is to bring all sides together so that they can reconcile with each other and move to the negotiating table to finalize the formation of South West State of Somalia. That way the people in the area will be able to decide their future. The Speaker said that all sides need to unite for the sake of the common good and in the interests of the nation as well as the regions. The Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN, Nicholas Kay, visited Baidoa on 8th September 2014 to encourage the on-going consultation process and to re-affirm the support of the UN and the International Community for the formation of the South West State of Somalia as part of the implementation of Federalism in Somalia.”

The Minister for Information stressed the importance of Public Awareness Campaigns: “Our people are tired of the instability and infighting of the last quarter of a century and they desperately need of peace and for all disputes to be solved through understanding and in a peaceful manner. On 9th September 2014, the Somali Religious Council organized an important event to discuss the importance of security and to overcome all outstanding disputes. Attendees at the Public Awareness Campaign event included religious leaders, intellectuals, poets and civil society groups. The theme was “Peace is the key to life” and after discussion and debate it was agreed to unite for the advancement of peace and stability. Mohamud Abdullahi Isse (Sangub), a well-known Somalia poet addressed the audience on the importance of peace through poetry. It was agreed that public awareness campaigns should continue to promote peace and the solution,of disputes through peaceful means. The Chairperson of the Somali Religious Council, Sheikh Yusuf Ali Aynte, noted the urgency required to work together to advance security in the country and that Islam places huge importance on people participating in efforts to bring peace. Religious leaders appealed to public to stop fighting between communities, as Islam prohibits the killing of innocents. The Federal Government of Somalia is committed to continue public awareness campaigns in order to bring peace and stability in the country.”

The Minister for Information re-iterated the urgent need for humanitarian assistance: “The Federal Government on 11 September 2014 sent 8 lorries of food aid to Jalalaqsi, one of the areas recently liberated from Al-Shabaab. The Minister of Interior & Federal Affairs is expected to visit the area soon to assess the humanitarian situation in the area and to speak with local people to establish critical requirements. The Federal Government of Somalia thanks the Government of Australia for their pledges of US $5 million for humanitarian assistance in Somalia. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, Julie Bishop MP issued a press release on 10 September stating that the donation is intended for the provision of emergency food, water, sanitation, shelter and medical assistance for the people of Somalia through UN agencies.”

The Minister for Information spoke on progress in the education sector: “On the 9th September 2014 the Federal Government assessed the progress of the “Go to School” initiative that was launched a year ago. The Ministry of Education and UNICEF have been working to implement this initiative and so far over 60,000 new students have enrolled in public education institutions and the Federal Government has recruited over 2,000 teachers in order to allow more children to attend school. The Government’s ambitious plan is for 1 million students to be enrolled within the three years. The aim of this initiative is to provide an opportunity for Somali children to study for free, which in turn will reduce illiteracy, poverty and disease, since the progress of each country depends on the education of its people. The Federal Government appeals to all concerned friends and allies to support this initiative so that all our children will be able to go to school and study.”

The Minster for Information spoke on progress in Human Rights: “The Ministry of Women & Human Rights Development has conducted a series of consultations in support of the draft Sexual Offences legislation. Senior officials including the Minster of Women & Human Rights Development and various experts met in Nairobi last week to finalize the draft of the legislation and we will be able to implement it as soon as the parliament approves it. The legislation will greatly advance the protection of Somali women against all forms of sex crimes. The Federal Government is committed to end all sexual offenses as each of our women deserve to live in dignity and without fear.”

The Minister for Information spoke on the Stabilization Plan process: “The Federal Government has made huge progress towards implementing the Stabilizing Plan and on 9th September the Police Commissioner, Major General Mohamed Sheikh Hassan Ismail spoke to media and provided progress update. Our security institutions have been implementing the Stabilization Plan in Mogadishu with great success. As part of these operations security forces have prevented number of terrorists’ attacks on the capital. Over the past months there have been 23 killings: in 18 of these, security forces have brought those responsible to justice. Security forces also intercepted 11 terrorist attacks before they happened. The Federal Government plans to extend the improved security of the capital by re-opening security institutions in every newly liberated area in order to bring peace, stability and essential services throughout the country. Somali security institutions have also been working closely with AMISOM on military operations against terrorists as well as implementing the stabilization plan.”

The Minister for Information concluded by speaking on the Clean-up Campaign in Banadir region: “The Banadir Regional Administration has been conducting a series of Clean-up Campaigns in Mogadishu and Banadir Region in order to bring back the beauty of the city. On 10th September 2014, the District Commissioners of Hodan & Wadajir Districts jointly conducted clean-up operations on the road from Banadir Hospital junction to Ex-Control Afgoie junction. People from both districts voluntarily cleaned the streets and the aim is to clean up all the streets in the city in this way, so that the capital is clean enough to attract investors and tourists. As the streets are public places it is important for people to care for their common areas. The Federal Government encourages Local Authorities to repeat this excellent idea.”