He said: “I don’t want to anticipate any points on that. This I leave for the constitutional experts engaged in the draft. It will be submitted to the population and they will be the ones deciding.”
Here is proof again that “democracy” alone (in the sense of collective decisions made by a head-count) is not a cure-all; the success of a democracy in securing civil liberties and improving the lot of its people depends on the values of its constituents.
“Somalia’s prime minister defends government,” by Edmund Sanders for the Los Angeles Times, November 19:
Reporting from Nairobi, Kenya — Islamic insurgents already controlling most of southern Somalia now stand on the outskirts of the nation’s capital, Mogadishu. Despite the presence of 20,000 Ethiopian troops for security, President Abdullahi Yusuf has stated that the government could collapse. And suspected Somali pirates repeatedly draw international attention for hijacking ships off the East African coast.
Amid the chaos, Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein, part of the United Nations-recognized transitional government formed in 2004, sat down Tuesday with The Times to discuss the troubled Horn of Africa nation.
[…] Are you worried that insurgents might attack Mogadishu?
Absolutely not. Mogadishu is well protected.
And if you believe that, read on!
[…] Are you prepared to sit down with Shabab leaders or Sheik Hassan Dahir Aweys, an influential Islamist who has rejected peace talks and whom the U.S. has accused of supporting terrorism?
Our doors are open for peace and reconciliation. We are not excluding anyone to join us.
What about those people the U.S. considersterrorists or who have pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda?
Well, terrorists will not join us. The people linked to terrorists are using innocent young people, by offering them money. We have to do our best to attract these young people and create for them a secure environment with jobs and training.
Some would like to see Sharif, who was often called a moderate inside the Islamic alliance that briefly controlled southern Somalia in 2006, become prime minister. Are you prepared to step down?
I’ve repeated many times that my position as prime minister is not important. I’m ready to step down when it is in the interest of the country.
Do you think Yusuf should step down?
Yes, I agree that the president remains the problem of this country. If the transitional institutions are not delivering, it is because of the obstacles our president is creating. Instead of leading us to peace and stability, he wants to keep the country a hostage of the current situation.
Is that why the government has failed to accomplish any of the key benchmarks established under its charter, such as a new constitution, an election commission, election laws and a census? The election is scheduled for next year.
The constitution draft is almost ready. The process is continuing, but slow because of the crisis.
What role will Islamic law or Sharia play in the new constitution?
Sharia is very important in Somalia. The Somali people are 100% Muslim and believe normal life is based on Sharia. So our constitution will be based on Sharia law. Any article in the constitution not in line with Sharia law will be null and void.
Actually, if the constitution were to be ratified and adopted, that stipulation would install a ticking time bomb in the document in that any government that is not sufficiently Islamic will be fair game to be overthrown, with the right to govern becoming associated with how strictly sharia is enforced. And that is precisely the situation they are in now.
How strict an interpretation do you envision and how will you balance that with human rights? For example,will a woman accused of adultery be stoned?
I think there would not be any problem because the constitution respects human rights and Sharia respects human rights.
So would a woman be stoned?
No, no. I don’t want to anticipate any points on that. This I leave for the constitutional experts engaged in the draft. It will be submitted to the population and they will be the ones deciding.