(STN-MUQDISHO):_At least forty-two members of legislative and oversight committees of parliament from Somalia’s South West State Legislative Assembly, are attending an intensive six-day capacity building workshop, to enable them effectively discharge their legislative roles and enhance the quality of debate in parliament.
The capacity building workshop, the fourth of its kind organized by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for the state assemblies, was opened by the AU Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, Mr. Simon Mulongo, in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, on Monday.
Other state assemblies that have benefitted from the training are Galmudug, Jubbaland and HirShabelle state assemblies.
“You are the foundation upon which the government of the South West (state) is built,” Mulongo noted in his address to the MPs.
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.
“Parliament is the most important because you are the ‘people of the people’, and remember that the two (that is) the executive and the judiciary cannot function, unless the people through you, have spoken,” Mulongo said.
Dr. Opiyo Ododa, AMISOM’s Head of Stabilization and Early Recovery Programme, the convenor of the workshop, noted that the workshop was crucial to Somalia’s recovery, peace and democratization efforts.
“We believe that the MPs we have here, have representation at the local level in terms of clans, as they have clan members and have their constituents, and talking to the MPs will enable us to reach out to their constituents at the local level,” Dr. Ododa stated stated, adding that the overall objective of the workshop is to enhance the capacity of Somalia’s state assemblies’ legislative and oversight capabilities.
During the workshop, the parliamentarians will be taken through a number of topics, which include, among others, 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.
The workshop has drawn key officials from 16 legislative and oversight committees of the South West state parliament. The 42 participants are led by their second Deputy Speaker, Alweys Hussein Moalim.
On Thursday, the MPs will visit the Kiambu County Assembly, in the outskirts of Nairobi, to have a firsthand experience of the functioning of a Kenyan county parliament. The South West state parliament which was inaugurated in January 2016 has 149 members out of which 21 percent are women.
Dr. Ododa said the choice of Kiambu County Assembly was deliberate, given that it is young, having started in 2013 and shares similar challenges with the one of South West state.
Mr. Moalim hailed AMISOM for organizing the workshop, which he said will be highly beneficial to the MPs and the state.