Somalia: Historic Constitution Vote: President Leads Charge After Decades of Struggle

First Official Constitution

In an unprecedented move for Somalia’s nation-building journey, both parliamentary chambers gathered on January 24 to vote on procedural guidelines for the final approval of the nation’s democratic constitution. This vote, expected soon, marks a critical step in replacing the provisional constitution adopted in 2012 and signifies the culmination of efforts by the independent national constitution review commission and the Parliamentary joint commission.

1969 Annulment

The need for a definitive constitution stems from the void left by the annulment of Somalia’s founding constitution in 1969 by a military regime. The absence of a binding constitution has long plagued Somalia, hindering the establishment of functional institutions and consensus politics, essential for national stability.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Somalia constitution. image from youtube screenshot edited by newsblaze.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. image from youtube screenshot edited by newsblaze.

Previous Attempts

Successive Somali leaders viewed the adoption of a formal constitution as a priority, but progress was stymied by a lack of good faith among involved parties. Now in his second term, the president is at the forefront of this historical endeavor, drawing lessons from his previous tenure to bring this vision to fruition. His renewed commitment to constitutional reform has been a constant theme since his re-election in May 2022.

In a speech at the Puntland president’s inauguration on January 25, the President emphasized the urgency of completing the constitutional process. He highlighted the nation’s critical need to resolve this long-standing constitutional conundrum, asserting that delays are no longer acceptable.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud‘s vigorous efforts reflect the Somali people’s demand for a stable, constitutional governance framework. This move towards a fully constitutional nation aims to address past misunderstandings and conflicts arising from the provisional and ambiguous constitution, thereby marking the end of a tumultuous political era.

Hopes and Aspirations

The anticipated adoption of this constitution is not just a political milestone; it represents the hopes and aspirations of the Somali people for a peaceful and structured future, free from the ambiguities and conflicts of the past.

Mohamed Dhaaley is a Somali writer, who reports on events in Somalia.