Thursday April 14, 2022
Somalia on Thursday inaugurated 290 new lawmakers, bringing
the country a step closer to completing a prolonged electoral process marred by
alleged corruption and irregularities.
The swearing-in ceremony was held in the capital's heavily
fortified Halane military camp, protected by sandbagged fences and high
concrete walls. Somali police and African Union troops were deployed to the
surrounding areas, putting Mogadishu under lockdown.
Dozens more legislators are yet to be selected and sworn in.
Later the lawmakers will elect speakers and deputies for
both parliamentary chambers before they sit to choose a new president.
“We are observing a new set of parliamentarians taking over
from others. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate parliamentarians
who have been sworn in today. This is a huge responsibility assigned on you by
your constituents, and it is a vote of confidence,” said Prime Minister Mohamed
Hussein Sheikh Ali of the Mogadishu-based research group
Hiraal Institute said the inauguration of lawmakers "marks a great relief
day for all Somalis and (the) international community who invested in Somalia
to move forward.”
Somalia’s parliamentary and presidential polls were delayed
for more than a year amid political turmoil after President Mohamed Abdullahi
Mohamed's mandate expired in Feb. 2021 without a successor in place.
The delay raised political tensions and the threat of
violence in a country prone to attacks by Islamic extremists who oppose the
Al-Shabaab claimed to have thrown mortar shells targeting
the area where the lawmakers were being sworn in on Thursday. Authorities
didn't say if anyone was hurt.