New Somalia Debates Constitution
28 Jul 2012 08:18 GMT
 

MOGADISHU - Seeing their country on the verge of change, Somali youth are currently involved in attending seminars organized by the National Somali Youth Council to discuss clauses of the new constitution that will end the tr (more)

MOGADISHU - Seeing their country on the verge of change, Somali youth are currently involved in attending seminars organized by the National Somali Youth Council to discuss clauses of the new constitution that will end the transitional period in the horn of Africa country.

"It was a very heated discussion topic," Mohamed Ali Mohamed, an 18-year-old student of shari`ah law and jurisprudence at Mogadishu University, told Sabahi Online on Friday, July 27.

"It was good to see young people addressing this issue. A lot of people out there have not read the document and just say that it is a Christian or secular document."

Inspired by the new prevailed security, which followed the removal of -Shabaab from Mogadishu a year ago, many Somalis believe their country was changing to the better.

Somalia is scheduled to end the transitional government period, adopt a new constitution, and elect a president by August 20th.

Once ratified, the new constitution will serve provisionally until a national referendum can be held.

Gathering in restaurants and cafés, Somali men pore over copies of the draft constitution and debate the applicability of some of the clauses, such as the role of religion in the constitution, and the minimum educational requirement for a presidential candidate.

"It feels good to see people debating over articles and clauses in the constitution and the role of a committee of experts," Mohamed said.

"In the battle to regain sovereignty, at least the debate is going on in the cafes of Mogadishu."

Suldan Hassan, a retired civil servant from the Siad Barre regime, said that despite the obstacles to writing and adopting a new constitution, it is a step in the right direction.

"The rule of law is important," Hassan said.

"Of course, there will be challenges and mistakes made. But it is important we move forward."

Building Country

Living abroad, Somalis in the diaspora were concerned about the drafting of the new constitution, disapproving the involvement of the traditional elders in the process.

"What we are talking about here is a constitution," Diini Bashir, a 25-year-old Somali student of medicine in Egypt, said.

"If the Somali people are not going to vote on it, then you need experts with the right knowledge to look through it and pass it."

Khadar Mohamed, 28, who has lived in London for eight years, says that he is interested in how the draft constitution will address the issue of dual citizenship.

"As you know, there are many Somalis who live in the diaspora and have foreign passports. It is not yet clear what our role and rights will be in the country we left,” he said.

“That question should be addressed."

Other Somalis saw the new constitution as an opportunity to solidify the progress of their country.

"Security is better. Businesses are growing. A new constitution might be good for the country," said Abdullahi Abdi, 27, who left Mogadishu for Nairobi two years ago.

For Mohamed, the Shari`ah law student, the new constitution would launch a new state in which ballots would replace bullets.

"Somalia is really changing," he said, adding that despite the challenges lying ahead, "there is no stopping the creation of a better tomorrow."

"The ballot, the book and the pen will win over the bullets and the terrorists," Mohamed said.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net



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