Somalia president: Constitutional changes are unstoppable

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MOGADISHU, Somalia - President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud maintains the constitutional changes are within the reform agenda, arguing that nobody will stop the country from making 'monumental progress' which 'we have desired for quite some time'.

Somalia started effecting constitutional changes through parliament with MPs passing the first four chapters which have since been approved by President Hassan Sheikh. However, Puntland, a northern state of the country, has opposed the changes.

In his Eid-al-fitr speech, Somalia’s President unequivocally stated there will be no negotiations on the recent changes to the Federal Constitution, changes Puntland and former leaders oppose. Puntland has withdrawn from the federal, citing frustrations.

Despite Puntland severing ties with the Federal Government, he stressed Somalia’s dedication to democracy, gearing up for one-person-one-vote elections, post the ratification of the constitution’s key chapters. Currently, the country is using the old model where elders decide leadership.

But President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud reaffirmed that the government is committed to fulfilling its promise to return power to the public and hold one-person vote elections in 2026, allowing the Somali people to elect those they want to lead them.

The changes also reduce the powers of the Prime Minister who is currently the head of government. In future, the president will have his deputy and the two will run the affairs of the Executive while the Prime Minister's role will be barely ceremonial as he will perform duties at the discretion of the president.

Puntland maintains adequate consultations were not done when proposals were made, arguing that it will continue to operate independently until the matter is solved. The international community has called for consensus.

Before the speech, Hassan Sheikh witnessed a handover ceremony at NISA headquarters, where Mahad Salad gave instruments of power to Abdullahi Mohamed alias Sanbalolshe, who initially held the post before joining diplomatic missions.

Hassan Sheikh emphasised the agency’s commitment to the nation above individual leadership. He urged for a strengthened bond of trust with the Somali people and a unified stance against terrorism. “Our collective duty is to safeguard our country,” he added.

GAROWE ONLINE

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