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Kenya training a major boon, say Somalia’s South West state MPs

Saturday June 30, 2018

The six-day benchmarking tour in Kenya for 42 Members of Parliament from the South West state of Somalia ended today with the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, challenging the legislators to put into practice the knowledge gained.

Speaking during the closing ceremony of the workshop in the Kenya capital, Nairobi, the SRCC expressed confidence that all the 42 MPs from the regional assembly had gained a deeper understanding of parliamentary functions, the powers of parliamentary committees and their role in making these functions impactful in their state.

“It is my hope that the workshop and parliamentary visits have enriched you and will greatly impact on your parliamentary sessions and oversight committee sittings at home,” Ambassador Madeira added.

He congratulated the South West state for involving women in its leadership noting that at least 21 percent of the 149 MPs in the state were women and 16 of the 42 MPs visiting Kenya were women.

“A parliament cannot function effectively in the absence of adequate, highly-trained and professionally empowered and need specific MPs and staff to support that legislative agenda,” Ambassador Madeira said, adding that AMISOM had so far trained their counterparts from Galmudug, HirShabelle and Jubbaland on how to discharge their duties as the people’s representatives.

The training is part of AMISOM’s efforts to help Somalia establish strong federal and state parliaments, which is critical in not only making laws, but also checking on the excesses of the executive. The South West state regional assembly MPs also visited Kiambu county and participated in a plenary with their Kenyan counterparts.

AMISOM’s head of Stabilization and Early Recovery Program, Dr. Opiyo Ododa, said the objectives of the benchmarking tour had been met since the MPs had been exposed to functions of parliament.

“We (AMISOM) believe that in pacifying Somalia, we should go beyond dealing with only military issues. We should be able to deal with issues of administration to ensure that the people of Somalia receive the type of services that are necessary for peace,” Dr. Ododa added

An official from Kenya’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Michael Kiboino, who attended the closure of the workshop, thanked AMISOM for organizing the benchmarking tour noting that when the history of Somalia’s peace process is written, the peacekeeping force would occupy a special place.

The regional assembly’s Second Deputy Speaker, Aweys Hussein Moalim, who led the delegation, praised the training and the visit to Kiambu county promising that the MPs will put into practice whatever knowledge they had gained.

“We benefited a lot from the Kiambu County Assembly and the governor. We promise that whatever we have learnt here we’ll take it back to our colleagues and the people in our state,” the Second Deputy Speaker of the South West state’s parliament added.

Some of the legislators who attended the workshop were unanimous that the benchmarking tour had enriched their legislative and oversight capabilities.

“I’ve benefited a lot from this training in terms of democratization, conflict resolution and also gained additional information which I did not have including how to draft bills,” said MP Batula Hussein from South West Regional Assembly

For his part, Abdikarim Mohamed Aftin, thanked the organizers of the training, AMISOM and the Second Deputy Speaker for the exposure he had received.

During the workshop, the parliamentarians were taken through a number of topics, which included the separation of powers in a democracy, systems of government (presidential vs parliamentary), roles and responsibilities of parliament, roles and effective running of committees, structure and organization of the South West state, the legislative process and leadership skills for parliamentarians.


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