Somalia's Long Journey To New Constitution To End In December
Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo hopes to deliver a new constitution by the end of this year, but this could prove a major undertaking.
Though the review timetable expects the new document to be ready by the end of 2019, President Farmajo, who came to power in February 2017 with a new constitution as one of his three key promises, is determined to complete the process ahead of schedule.
The country recently convened the first constitutional review conference in Mogadishu since the process started in Djibouti in 2000 to set up a roadmap for the review process.
The constitutional review, into which the government has pumped $3 million, should be completed before 2020 when the country is expected to hold its first elections with universal suffrage since the 1980s.
The three-day national constitutional convention was attended by 350 delegates, among them, MPs, religious leaders and representatives from federal member states and civil society.
The new constitution is expected to address a number of unresolved constitutional issues such the future status of Mogadishu, the structure of the Executive and the sharing of power and resources between the federal government and the federal member states.
The government is approaching the review with considerable goodwill from the international community after the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating, promised to mobilise additional financial resources from the international community.
Somalia is governed under the Provisional Constitution agreed upon in 2012 after pressure from international donors to prop up the transitional Federal Government set up in 2000 which was not registering much progress in reconciling the country.
While there is general consensus that Somalia should remain a federal state with shared powers between the centre and regional states, there have been suggestions that the executive be restructured to abolish the Office of the Prime Minister and consolidate it in the presidency as the head of state and government.
This suggestion has been opposed by those who believe that the current system not only allows a power balance between the various clans, but also allows devolution of power to regional states because the centralisation of power is what led to the civil war that began 1991.
Currently, there are five regional states; Galmudug, Hirshabelle, Jubaland, Puntland and South West State. The constitutional review will decide whether Mogadishu becomes the sixth state, to be known as Benadiir or remains the capital for all the regions.