Federal Parliament of Somalia approves Constitutional Review Commissioners

20 Jun 2014

Federal Parliament of Somalia approves Constitutional Review Commissioners

Mogadishu, 20 June 2014 - On 29 May 2014, the Somali Council of Ministers approved the nomination of five (5) individuals to serve as Commissioners on the Independent Constitutional Review and Implementation Commission (ICRIC) – please see profiles below. On 19 June, the Federal Parliament approved the nominations; 134 MPs voted in favour of approving the nominees, 9 MPs voted against and 10 MPs abstained.

Established under Article 134 of the Provisional Constitution, the ICRIC is a body of legal/technical experts that will focus on legal drafting of proposed constitutional amendments under the political supervision and guidance of the parliamentary Provisional Constitution Review and Implementation Oversight Committee (Oversight Committee).

Article 134 (2) of the Provisional Constitution stipulates that the Federal Member States will nominate five (5) delegates to the ICRIC. Since the state formation process is yet to be completed, the Federal Government of Somalia’s (FGS) plan is for the Puntland Government, the Interim Juba Administration (IJA) and the interim regional administrations that will be established in the south-western and central regions to nominate the state delegates.

Speaking at the 5 June kick-off meeting of the Working Group for the Somali Compact’s Peace- and State-building Goal (PSG) I - on inclusive politics - in Mogadishu, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Farah Sheikh Abdulkhadir, stated that following parliamentary approval of the nominees, a technical retreat would be convened by the Ministry and the Federal Parliament bringing together FGS focal points for constitutional review with the Commissioners. The outcome of this retreat will be a jointly agreed upon Process Framework with clear milestones as well as mechanisms and procedures to review and implement the constitution. The Process Framework will be endorsed by the President, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, welcomed the approval of the ICRIC Commissioner nominees as a big step for Somalia’s Vision 2016. The UN has already provided the FGS with a complete set of background documentation to the Provisional Constitution and will provide further support to establish and operationalise the Commission. The presence of official representatives of the regions at the recent New Deal Compact/PSG working group meetings in Mogadishu is a most welcome development that sends a strong political message of inclusiveness and cooperation between the FGS, the regions and the emerging Federal States. In particular, the FGS is encouraged to intensify efforts to engage Puntland on the constitutional review process.

Commissioner Profiles (sources – Ministry of Information, mareeg.com)

  • Mrs. Asha Gelle Dirie

Studied at the Faculty of Education at Somalia’s Lafoole University in 1984 and obtained a post-graduate degree on Women and Rural Development in India. Mrs Dirie has three decades of professional experience in the areas of governance, education, peace building,

conflict resolution, gender, community development, environmental protection and rural development. Before her appointment, she served as the Minister of Women & Family Affairs for 8 yrs in Puntland State of Somalia.

  • Mr. Osman Jama Ali

Studied Electronic Engineering at Leningrad, Soviet Union in 1968, and served as Minister of Fisheries & Marine Transport and Minister of Public Works & Housing between 1973 and 1989. Mr Ali also served as Deputy Prime Minister of the Transitional National Government of Somalia under President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan, and was a candidate in the presidential elections in 2004. He is currently the Chairman of the Somali Initiative for Dialogue and Democracy.

  • Prof. Hassan Omar Mahadallah

Prof. Mahadallah is a professor and researcher in the Department of Political Science at the Southern University of Baton Rouge (SUBR), in the US state of Louisiana. He is an author with vast experience on Somalia and has published a number of articles on Somalia, including The Origins and Essence of Somali Nationalism; Leadership in the Horn of Africa; The Horn of Africa: Intra-State and Inter-State Conflicts and Security; History of Somalia’s Armed Forces; Continuity and Change in U.S. Foreign Policy toward the Horn of Africa; Islamic Courts, Ethiopia’s Intervention in Somalia, and Its Implications for Regional Stability; Somalia: Economy without State, and The Somali Conflict: Clan Rivalry or the Cabals of a Few.

  • Mr. Mohammed Abdullah Saleh

Mr. Saleh is a legal consultant and attorney to various international and local institutions, and appeared as a solicitor at the Somali Courts between 1972 and 1975. He has been in the field of law since 1972 and has extensive experience in the areas of conflict management, peace building, negotiations and strategic leadership.

  • Mr. Hassan Hussein Haji

Mr. Haji is an experienced lawyer, specialized in the field of immigration, asylum & international humanitarian law. In the past few years, he has been actively involved in legal and academic discussions about constitution building, appearing on a weekly TV programme in the subject. He has a rich understanding of the constitution-making process.