The Center for Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) held a public lecture on Monday, February 26, 2024, at 18:00 Doha time, featuring His Excellency Mr. Hassan Mo'allin Mohamud, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in the Republic of Somalia. The lecture was entitled "Rebuilding a Democratic State: The Experience of the Third Somali Republic" and it was moderated by Dr. Aiham Alsukhni, a Senior Research Fellow at the Center.

During his intervention, His Excellency shed light on several distinct topics related to the duties of the current government, which include counterterrorism, strengthening state authority, working on finalising the constitution, and rebuilding the state's institutions. His Excellency also stressed that the essence of the Somali dilemma is the absence of the rule of law since the first republic, which was established on the ruins of the colonial power that was imposed by force on Somali people. Colonials divided Somalia into five independent states, and their legacy alienated the Somalis from the state that became no longer representing them.

On the other hand, he touched on the internal and external circumstances that impede stability in Somalia. The most important external factor is the Ethiopian threat that was and still is threatening Somalia, and here he said, "Today is not much different from the 60s, as Ethiopia works to carve out part of Somali territory, divide the country, and undermine the state's efforts, while the government works to defeat terrorism and formulate a permanent constitution that guarantees political stability and the basic rights and freedoms of citizens." In this regard, His Excellency indicated that the fault did not lie only on Ethiopia, as the previous Somali governments were not able to take the required steps to stop the Ethiopian intervention, which escalated and ended in a military clash. Now, the Somali government is identifying the diplomatic limits regionally and internationally and will do everything necessary to confront any imminent danger, according to Mr. Hassan.

Through the historical narrative presented by Mr. Hassan, he pointed out that in the year 2000, the phase of rebuilding the state began with a different approach – bottom- up approach- through societal reconciliation, and the cessation of hostilities agreement, which was sabotaged by the Ethiopian intervention in Somalia in 2006 and the emergence of terrorist movements within Somalia.

Regarding the obstacles facing the building of a democratic Somali state, Mr. Hassan said, "During the rule of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the Somali state was able to lift the arms embargo, settle the debts, and join the East African Economic Community (EAC)."

His Excellency's speech was followed by a Q&A round from the audience, which touched on the issue of natural resources and climate change and its role in fueling the ongoing conflict in Somalia, and the steps taken by the Somali government to address the ideological, economic and military war, the issue of Al-Shabaab movement, and the completion of the Somali constitution. In response to the questions raised, Mr. Hassan pointed out the necessity of working on all fronts in parallel and paying attention to the climate, security, military and diplomatic aspects to deal with internal and external threats. As for the terrorist Al-Shabaab movement, he indicated that the Somali government may choose the least expensive solution, which is dialogue, but the movement is a branch of Al-Qaeda, which has an extremist ideology and will not come to the dialogue table except by force.

About H.E Minister Hassan Mo'allin Mahmoud

In addition to performing his duties as Minister of Justice, he currently devoted himself to political work after the intervention of the Ethiopian forces in the country over the past 20 years. He was a member of the political leadership of the Somali resistance. Afterwards, he participated in the peace process that led to reconciliation between the Somali resistance and the Somali transitional government in 2008. He began his career as Minister of Presidential Affairs under the government of President Sheikh Sharif. Then he served as a parliamentary representative for two consecutive terms in the period between 2012 and 2021.

About the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies

CHS is an independent center for research and practice based in Doha, Qatar that is dedicated to promoting dialogue, understanding, and effective responses to the challenges of conflict and humanitarian crises. CHS recognizes the importance of creating spaces for inclusive dialogue between local communities affected by crisis to raise awareness among stakeholders. The Center reflects the value of inclusivity in all aspects of its activities, ensuring that a plurality of voices are provided platforms, in particular marginalized or excluded groups.

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