Today from Hiiraan Online:
Somalia’s Most Qualified Parliament
SRSG Augustine Mahiga
Monday, September 10, 2012
Mogadishu - There is an air of excitement as we draw closer to one of the most important dates in the history of Somali politics. Despite the many challenges leading up to the end of the transitional period, there is great pleasure in knowing that the legislative arm of Somalia’s new government sits many of the country’s most highly qualified people.
Approximately 60 percent of the Members of Parliament hold university degrees. The Speaker, Professor Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari, is an attorney by trade with numerous educational achievements and is fluent in five languages: Somali, Arabic, English, Italian and Norwegian. Another Member of Parliament, Mr. Ahmed Samatar, was the James Wallace Professor of International Studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mr. Samatar has lectured at many leading universities including Cornell, Harvard and the London School of Economics. Member of Parliament, Ms. Asha Haji Elmi, a well-known peace activist, holds a degree in Economics from Somalia National University as well as a Master of Business Administration from the United States International University in Kenya.
These are a few examples of the remarkable individuals who comprise the new Somali Parliament and who demonstrate dedication to the service of their country in this exciting and transformative chapter of Somalia’s history.
In this new Parliament, there are many other people of action, integrity and determination; capable of delivering a new Somalia in the next four years. Their collective action will make the needed difference Somali people are expecting from the Parliamentarians.
As International Literacy Day, themed “Literacy and Peace,” was marked, let us reflect on the potential of this new, highly qualified Parliament and its potential to play an invaluable role in the Somali peace process. Just as literacy contributes to peace, bringing people closer to attaining individual freedoms and fostering better understanding of the world, it also plays a key role in the prevention and resolution of conflict. In Somalia, both literacy and democratic processes go hand in hand to create a solid foundation for peace and stability.
While obstacles remain, Monday’s Presidential election will mark another milestone in the country’s political process, and so I call on legislators who are voting to ensure they uphold the standards already set while selecting the best candidate as the leader for their nation.
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