H.E. President Sheikh Shariff,
H.E. the Speaker, Shariff Hassan,
President Abdirahman Farole of Puntland State
President Alin of Galmudug State
Mohamed Mohamud Yusuf of Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama’a
H.E. Augustine Mahiga of UNPOS
Ambassadors, Distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen:
We are at a historic moment, a moment that marks one of the most significant milestones in our Roadmap journey: the completion of the draft constitution. I will come back to why this benchmark is so integral to the overall success of the road map, but first, I want to thank you all for your presence here, thank you all for your contributions and your hard work.
The Roadmap process started precisely 9 months and 22 days ago when we gathered in Mogadishu on September 6, 2011 to sign the historic agreement that would lead us out of the transition. As you are all aware, the Roadmap represents a pared-down and streamlined mapping out of the most pressing and priority needs of our nation. Although the benchmarks of Security, Good Governance and Political Outreach are key priority tasks of the Roadmap, the completion of the constitution seemed to my administration from the outset to be the most critical task to end the transition.
As you know, the Somali transitional charter established in 2004 called for the drafting and completion of a new Somali federal constitution that speaks to the aspirations of the Somali people. At the time, no one thought that it would take 8 long years to get to this point.
Building on the solid work of the Independent Federal Constitution Commission, over the past year, the Somali public has been widely consulted in cities, in villages, in refugee camps and in the Diaspora and also through the various media outlets.
In the past 10 months, we the Roadmap signatories have also crossed together many bridges and have engaged in political dialogue and outreach. We met in Mogadishu, twice in Garowe, once in Galkayo, Addis and now Nairobi, to work through the large questions, such as future systems of governance and the nature of federalism, and fundamental principles of human rights, particularly the place of women in our society. We also discussed the smaller details such as how we plan to practically implement the agreements. We debated the form of our future parliament, coming to significant agreements on the reduced size, the criteria of our future lawmakers, and the method of selection.
Each time we have come to an agreement, like today, we have succeeded in reconciling opposing views and reaching compromises, making our society stronger.
As you can imagine, it is not simple or straightforward for societies that have undergone protracted conflict to examine their social and political arrangements and begin dialogue on a renewed and revised social contract. But we have managed.
“Transition” has come to mean a place of hopelessness and stagnation, and we have been trapped here for the last 20 years. Today we are stepping out of this negative space and we are transitioning into a bright positive future of democracy, of good governance, of peace and security.
We Somalis have a culture of nostalgia that looks back on the Somalia we used to have. But today is the beginning of the Somalia we can have. We hope our future generations will look back on August 2012 as the beginning of the period of hope and stability.
Let me come back to why this is such a historic moment. Today the Somali people have a draft modern constitution that can serve as a basis for a future social contract.
This draft may not be perfect but it is the aggregate suggestions and opinions gathered from cross-sections of Somali society and therefore it represents the aspirations of the Somali people. On or around July 12, the real constitutional review of Somali citizens starts with the standing up of the National Constituent Assembly, which will deliberate and then provisionally adopt this constitution. After August 2012, the next parliament will serve as a constitutional review body, continuing the important work of completing the process by finalizing and delivering the provisional constitution to the Somali people in a public referendum.
I want to remind the Somali people that unless we take full ownership of this historic document, it will forever remain words on a piece of paper. In order to become a transformative document, we must all strive to breathe life into it by building implementation and enforcement mechanisms around the constitution. As I have said before, a constitution is a living tree that needs to be nurtured and the best way we can do that is for every Somali citizen to take individual ownership.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have 58 days to make history. Let us not waste a single minute.
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