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NAIROBI, Feb. 4 (TF.DF)
The United Nations top envoy for Somalia on Friday expressed his disappointment by the decision by the Somali Transitional Federal Parliament to extend its mandate by three years.
Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden said Thursday that lawmakers voted 421 to 11 to pass the three-year extension. Three members of parliament abstained.
In a statement issued in Nairobi, Augustine Mahiga, the UN secretary general's special representative to the Horn of Africa nation, said the decision was taken in haste without full consultations.
"I have noted the decision by the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) to extend their mandate by three years. This is a disappointing decision taken in haste without the required level of discussion and consultation on how to end the transition and on the next political dispensation after August 20," Mahiga said.
The mandate for Somalia's transitional parliament and government was to have expired in August. Under the transitional government's charter, parliament cannot pass legislation six months prior to the end of its mandate.
Now that parliament's mandate has been extended, members are expected to select a new speaker in the next few months and a president in July or August.
But Mahiga said the consultations had actually begun with the President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Prime Minister but have not been followed through.
"Today I met with the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to further deliberate on the outcomes of the IGAD Heads of State summit in Addis Ababa on Jan. 31," he said.
He said the meeting agreed to jointly meet with the leadership of the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) as soon as possible to discuss the way forward while ensuring stability and change.
"The Somali people deserve and expect to see change. It is the responsibility of the TFIs to implement this change in consultation with major entities representing the Somali people and key partners of the international community," he said.
"We will continue to work with the Somali leadership, in the spirit of transparency, cooperation and mutual trust," Mahiga said.
Somalia has not had an effective central government in 20 years, since the fall of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. The current government controls only small portions of the capital, Mogadishu.
Chronic government infighting has hampered efforts to fight Islamist insurgents who want to turn Somalia into a strict Islamic state.
UN disappointed with Somalian parliament’s mandate extension
Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) The special envoy of the United Nations Secretary General to Somalia Augustine P. Mahiga, condemned on Friday the decision by the Transitional Federal Parliament of Somalia to extend their mandate for another three years, APA learns in a statement issued here.
Parliament on Thursday in Mogadishu voted 421 to 11 to pass the three-year extension while three MPs abstained. The mandate should have ended in August 2011.
“I have noted the decision by the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP) to extend their mandate by three years.This is a disappointing decision taken in haste without the required level of discussion and consultation on how to end the transition and on the next political dispensation after 20 August 2011,” said the envoy.He pointed out that the consultations had actually begun with the President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden and the Prime Minister Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamedbut have not been followed through.
“Today I met with the African Union (AU) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to further deliberate on the outcomes of the IGAD Heads of State summit in Addis Ababa on the 31 January 2011.We agreed to jointly meet with the leadership of the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFIs) as soon as possible to discuss the way forward while ensuring stability and change,” said Mahiga.The UN envoy urged for further consultation in order to extend the mandate of the TFG of Somalia.“The Somali people deserve and expect to see change. It is the responsibility of the TFIs to implement this change in consultation with major entities representing the Somali people and key partners of the international community.
We will continue to work with the Somali leadership, in the spirit of transparency, cooperation and mutual trust,” he added.The mandate of the TFIs should expire in August. It should be noted that the Transitional Government’s Charter states that parliament cannot pass legislation six months prior to the end of its mandate.
Fate of Somali govt placed in parliament's hands or iranian mercenary hands Somali Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden
US criticizes Somali legislators' extension voteNAIROBI, Kenya -- The United States on Friday sharply criticized a vote by Somali parliamentarians to extend their term by three years, calling the unilateral decision a disservice to the Somali people and a setback to the establishment of a legitimate and effective government.
The 500-member parliament voted on the extension Thursday despite failing to pass any laws the in last six years. When asked for an example of the legislative body's accomplishments, one parliamentarian told The Associated Press that the politicians had refurbished the parliament building.
The job-extending vote drew a scathing response from the U.S., which said the extension could even strengthen Somalia's most dangerous militant force, al-Shabab, an insurgent group that actively recruits Somali-Americans and masterminded the twin bombings in Uganda during the World Cup final last July.
"This unilateral and unrepresentative extension ... serves only to further undermine the credibility of the Parliament and risks strengthening al-Shabab," the U.S. statement said. "This self-serving political maneuvering calls into question the suitability of the senior leadership of the Parliament as viable partners for the Somali people and the international community as we collectively work to bring peace, stability, and progress back to Somalia."
The U.N.'s top Somalia representative called the vote a "disappointing decision taken in haste."
Somali legislators receive $300 a month each from the United Nations. Thursday's vote was attended by 435 lawmakers and 421 of them voted for the extension. The U.S. urged that the "ill-conceived decision" be reconsidered.
The criticism of parliament comes amid a growing chorus calling for the Somali government itself - headed by the president and prime minister - to end when its mandate expires in August.
The second-highest ranking official in the U.S. State Department said during a visit to Kenya on Thursday that Washington hasn't seen any progress by the government, which is known as the Transitional Federal Government.
"We just can't continue with business as usual. We have been frankly disappointed with the performance of the TFG. It has not broadened its base of support. It has not been effective in meeting the needs of the people," Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg said.
The U.N.'s envoy to Somalia, Augistine Mahiga, said earlier this month that any extension for the Somali government was out of the question.
"There was unanimous agreement, both inside and outside Somalia, that the transitional period has to end in August as envisaged under the Djibouti Peace Agreement," said Mahiga.
But no one yet knows what will happen in Mogadishu when August arrives. Steinberg said "we all intend to work very hard" to find a solution. He said the U.S. does not believe a large conference needs to be held or that the process should start from scratch, but that a consensus needs to be found among key players.
Whether a government exists or not may not make much difference to the people of Somalia, a country in conflict since a 1991 coup. The government, which is backed and protected by more than 8,000 African Union peacekeepers, controls only a small slice of the capital, Mogadishu. It provides few or no services to Somalis.
When President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed was chosen during a peace conference in 2009, it was hoped that the former insurgent would be able to bring his allies into the peace process. But Ahmed's term was crippled by internal fighting with the former prime minister and insurgent groups have expanded their control of south-central Somalia.
Despite that, critics suspect that Ahmed's administration is devising ways to hang onto power beyond its mandate.
"The current administration has failed, so it should go," said Ali Mohamud Farah, one of a dozen members of parliament who say they object to any efforts to extend the term of the president. "Let's bring in a new leadership that can solve the country's problems."
Somalia's Information Minister Abdulkareem Hassan Jama said the decision to extend president's term "should come from Somalis themselves. They will not accept outside decisions dictated to them." For months, the U.N. and several European countries have been pressing the president to back a new draft constitution aimed at scraping the "transitional" tag from the government to pave the way for a new elected administration.
But Ahmed has opposed the document, which later became the bone of contention between him and former Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke.
Sharmarke, who supported the draft constitution, resigned in September, leaving the document in limbo.
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