Source: AMISOM (African Union)
With just one year to go before the end of its term in August 2016, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) remains committed to achieving priorities for vision 2016 and PSG1 (Inclusive Politics) milestones. As a lead agency of Vision 2016, the Ministry of Interior and Federal Affairs (MOIFA) has been championing the state formation process which have successfully led to establishment of Interim Jubaland Administration, Interim South West Administration and the Gulmudug Interim Administration. The state formation process for Hiraan and Middle Shabelle Region has recently been launched. Another development that have gained significant traction and which has built a momentum for the speedy implementation if Vision 2016 priorities is the recent formation of Boundaries and Federal Commission (BFC), and National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC).
Despite this progress, more work still remains to be done and the population is increasingly seeking answers as the constitutional deadline for fully delivering Vision 2016 goals draws near. One of the areas needing urgent action is the passage. One of the key legislations necessary for achieving Vision 2016 deliverables, such as constitutional review and election in 2016 is a Citizenship Law. A new citizenship bill which is currently being drafted by the MoIFA and is expected to be submitted to the Federal Parliament by September 2015. To meet this deadline and as a legislative requirement, the MOIFA plans to conduct public consultation in and out of the country to collect input and views from the citizenry in view of finalising the bill.
Public consultation is one of the key legislative tools employed to improve credibility, transparency and effectiveness of laws. Generally, as an important stakeholder directly affected by any law, the citizens should be consulted in the process of policy making such as drafting a new legislation. When it shall be completed, the citizenship law in Somalia will have far-reaching effects on the millions of Somalis living in the diaspora, many of who were born in the diaspora or have been living out of the country for decades.
It is, therefore, critical for the Federal Government of Somalia to engage with the Somali diaspora population in the process of providing the country with a new legislation law. This will involve actively seeking the opinions of interested and affected Somali citizens in the diaspora on the all-important questions such as defining Somali citizenship, how it can be lost, meaning of dual citizenship, rights of the citizens, as well as their obligations and responsibilities etc.
The purpose of Diaspora engagement is to address important basic elements of the Draft Citizenship Bill. It aims to explain, listen all voices, gather perspectives and get Diaspora feedback on who shall be considered a citizen of Somalia Republic, the ways of acquiring Somali citizenship, how citizenship can be lost, meaning of dual citizenship, rights of the citizens as well as obligations and responsibilities of the citizens. This will give Somali communities in diaspora the opportunity to participate in the drafting of a citizenship law would in turn encourage them to have a stake in the country’s development.