By Mohamed Ali Nur
Wherever the camel goes, that is Somalia. So states an ancient Somali proverb, illustrating the strong ties that bind the people of Somalia across the globe to their homeland. And every year, on July 1, we come together to mark the anniversary of our independence.
All too often over the last two decades, these colorful celebrations have been overshadowed by the reality of conflict and suffering in Somalia. In contrast, today the atmosphere is charged with hope and expectation following the remarkable achievements that have been realised on the security, economic, and political fronts.
In Mogadishu, which is fast losing the moniker ‘Most Dangerous City In The World’, residents will take advantage of the longest sustained period of relative peace the city has experienced since 1991 to perhaps enjoy a day on the city’s crowded beaches or to take a meal in newly opened restaurants or may opt to shop in the bustling markets.
That much of this would have been unthinkable a year ago is proof of how much things have changed. With the support of African Union troops, the Somali National Army has liberated large parts of the country, including the capital, from the brutal rule of Al Qaeda affiliated terror group, Al Shabaab. In the wake of these military successes, the process of political reconciliation has been galvanised.
The Somali leadership has come together and agreed on a roadmap to end the seemingly interminable transition process and to inaugurate a new political order rooted in the aspirations and values of our people.
As we speak, an official draft of a provisional constitution, representing the views of a cross- section of Somali society, has been agreed. Traditional elders are currently meeting in Mogadishu to appoint delegates to a National Constituent Assembly, which will be charged with its adoption.
Further, the elders will appoint members of a new and reformed Parliament whose numbers have been reduced by half. This streamlined Parliament will elect a new Speaker as well as the President, and oversee the creation of a new government, finally lowering the curtain on 12 years of transition.
While much has been achieved, much more remains to be done.
The new government will have to shoulder the weighty responsibility of liberating the rest of the country, establishing the rule of law and creating the necessary conditions to allow for popular participation in decision-making.
As the terrorists are rolled back, the government must continue to take a leading role in helping establish peace, foster reconciliation and develop the structures for accountable and efficient local and regional governance. In this regard, a National Stabilization and Security Plan hinged on the continuing work to rebuild the national army, police force and institutions of justice has been devised and is being implemented, supported by a policy and strategy to reconcile communities which emphasises inclusivity and traditional Somali reconciliation processes.