Home > IGAD, TFG Somalia > Somali parliament’s term must be extended: IGAD

Somali parliament’s term must be extended: IGAD

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mon Jan 31, 2011 Laaska News
By Richard Lough

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – An east African regional bloc called on Monday for Somalia’s parliament to have its term extended beyond its August deadline and be tasked with deciding the fate of the interim government.

At the same meeting on the sidelines of an African Union (AU) summit, Jean Ping, chairman of the AU Commission, accused Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of failing to make significant progress towards restoring peace and stability.

An Islamist insurgency has seen the government do little more than battle for survival, while tens of thousands of civilians have been killed over the past four years.

Under the terms of a 2009 deal, the TFG’s mandate expires on August 20, by which time it should have enacted a new constitution and held a parliamentary election.

“The Assembly reached a consensus on the urgent need to extend the term of the current Transitional Federal Parliament while the remaining political dispensation be handled by the people of Somalia,” the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) said in a statement.

A senior IGAD source said that meant parliament would decide whether to elect a new leader, or allow President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed to remain in office and form a new government.

“The Somali delegation asked for the term of the speaker, prime minister and president to be extended beyond the transition period. Had IGAD done that, we would have been bestowing upon ourselves the mandate of the Somali people,” said the IGAD source.

It was not immediately clear how long parliament’s term should be prolonged.

NON-PERFORMANCE”

The lawless Horn of Africa nation has lacked an effective central government since the overthrow of a dictator in 1991. Western intelligence agencies say Somalia has become a hotspot for foreign jihadists bent on destabilising the region.

Ping said apart from signing a peace deal with the moderate sufi militia group Ahlu Sunna, Ahmed’s administration had failed to persuade other militants to lay down arms.

“This non-performance … has impacted negatively on perception of its (TFG) legitimacy and credibility, both domestically and internationally,” Ping told the meeting attended by President Ahmed.

The United Nations’ special representative to Somalia, Augustine Mahiga, last week said extending the TFG’s term was not an option and acknowledged negotiations were required on what shape the next administration should take.

Horn of Africa experts say an 8,000 strong AU peacekeeping force has prevented the rebels from ousting the Western-backed government. The U.N. Security Council agreed last month that the force could be increased to 12,000 troops.

“We now need to rapidly generate and deploy the new troops recently authorised by the Security Council, and give the force the technical, logistical and financial support it needs to do its work,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told the meeting.
Reuters.

Laaska News.