24 June 2011

Somalia: Return Country to Stability, New PM Urged

Somali MPs have welcomed the appointment of a new Prime Minister and laid a raft of issues they want him to address to return the war-torn country to stability.

The MPs further commended President Kibaki's efforts to bring peace to Somalia.

Addressing journalists at Grand Palace Hotel in Eastleigh, Nairobi Friday the MPs said Prime Minster Abdiweli Mohamed Ali should establish a law enforcing body, the judiciary, the Attorney General's office, prisons and help end extremism and piracy.

"The PM has a huge task to formulate an Act and regulatory system for transitional period, the constitution and set up commissions for elections, boundaries and political parties law," Somalia's parliamentary Information, Public Awareness, Culture and Heritage committee chairman Awad Ahmed Ashareh said adding these were the things the PM should prioritise.

The MPs said the international community should know the happenings in Somalia could affect the whole region and could get out of hand if not addressed immediately.

"Just as President Kibaki told the new American ambassador to Kenya, Somalia seems to have been forgotten by the international community, a thing that should be addressed," Mr Ashareh said.

The MPs reiterated their opposition to a recent accord signed in Kampala that extended the life of the current government by a year and vowed to meet in Mogadishu on Monday "to throw it out."

Mr Ashareh said 165 MPs have submitted a motion in Parliament opposing the accord but the Speaker has refused to admit it.

"According to the rules of procedure of Parliament, the Speaker has to take any motion but has the right to verify that it is within the jurisdiction of the charter and the rules of procedure, which entitles him to study the motion for five days before submitting it to the plenary," Mr Ashareh said.

He said the MPs would pass a vote of no confidence on Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden and elect a new one if he does not allow debate on the motion "as his refusal contravenes the charter and rules of procedure".

Somalis protested in Mogadishu streets when the accord was signed in Kampala two weeks ago saying it amounted to surrendering the country's sovereignty to foreigners.

"June 27 will be a dooms day for parliamentarians or a bright day for them to acquire the trust and confidence of the Somalis, that is, if they shrug off the Kampala accord," Mr Ashareh said.

Mr Ashareh said it has been difficult for Somalia's President to bring reconciliation in the country and stop the Al Shabab militias because he was being viewed as a traitor by the insurgents for having defected from the group.

Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed on Thursday appointed a Harvard tax law graduate as his new PM.

Mr Abdiweli Mohamed Ali replaced Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed who resigned as per the Kampala accord requirement.

Mr Ali taught at Niagara University in Buffalo, New York, before joining the Somali transitional federal government (TFG), where he has already served as deputy prime minister and former planning minister.

Somalia's transitional government, set up in Kenya in 2004, has survived only thanks to the international community.

Under the Kampala deal signed by the President and the Speaker on June 9, they extended their terms for a year, pushing back polls due in August.

The agreement also called for Abdullahi Mohamed to resign within 30 days and for the president to name his successor, subject to approval by parliament.

Elections for president and speaker of parliament will now have to take place before August 20, 2012.

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