A senior United Nations official says Somalia needs an authentic authority to adopt an interim provincial constitution and ending the transitional period on August 20th. The announcement comes two days after Somalia’s political players agreed in Addis Ababa that traditional elders meeting in Mogadishu to select the delegates for the National Constituent Assembly.
Speaking in Nairobi, the United Nations Special Representative Ambassador Augustine Mahiga says the significance of bringing traditional leaders together was to select representatives and delegates to the constituent assembly in the absence of direct elections or a referendum. He says the most legitimate representatives of the Somali people are elders.
“Ideally, this constitution should have been adopted by a referendum, but because of the security situation which doesn’t permit access to the rest of the country and we need to have this constitution adopted as one of the requirements of both Mbagathi and Djibouti agreement to end the transition. We need some kind of an authentic authority to adopt this interim of provincial constitution and these are authorities that will give us the representative.”
There are seven main groups representing Somali civil society coming from each of the major clans in Somalia. They are the religious leaders, women, business community, youth and professionals, ex-patriots and traditional elders.
Elders are to get their constituents to begin process of consultations in selecting representatives in the coming post-transitional government by August.
The selection of representatives will be easy for elders whose constituents are under the control of the government forces, but not for those whose constituents are still under the control of al-Shabab.
However, Ambassador Mahiga says they will have to look for other means to reach to their constituents for consultations and process of selecting their own representatives.
“In Addis Ababa we considered this issue, of sending elders back to areas which are not accessible for security reasons. We agreed that we should use any other means possible, including the extensive use of cell phone(s), which is one of the major technological means that Somalis use with tremendous creativity.”
No doubt many of these elders will have to remain in Mogadishu as al-Shabab threatens to take action against all the traditional elders who have taken part in the constituent assembly.
Nevertheless they have to bring elected representatives to Mogadishu so that they can take part in electing Somali’s new president.
Meanwhile, on the military front, Africa Union andSomali government forces gained momentum, Friday. They have taken control of Afgooye stronghold of al-Shabab which hosted the the rebel leaders and a center for pro-militant propaganda.