The following post was submitted by Robin Gary, Constitution Legal Adviser for UNDP/UNPOS, who is spearheading UNPOS’ NCA task force in Mogadishu.
At the beginning of April I accompanied the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Peter de Clercq on the mission to assess the possible venues for the National Constituent Assembly; along with representatives of the Transitional Federal Government we visited a handful of sights and came out feeling that this task was impossible. How were we going to accomplish the preparation of a venue to hold the biggest constituent assembly in the world in one of the most dangerous cities in the world without enough time and with insufficient resources?
In our moment of despair, we looked to the Somalis. And as we began to engage, they stepped up to the challenge. As we approach the commencement of the NCA deliberations, the task we thought was unachievable, the test that we believed we were destined to fail, has been achieved. I visited the venue today and improbably, it is ready to host one of the most important events in Somalia’s recent history, an event that can change the course of the country and provide for a better life for all Somalis.
In reflecting on this process, I can’t help but think that, in a way, it mirrors the struggle that Somalia has grappled with for the last 20+ years—a seemingly insurmountable task of creating a stable and secure environment for all Somalis. Progress has ebbed and flowed, felt hopeless and at times looked impossible — but then, with dedication, remarkable progress is achieved very quickly. It is my hope that, as the Somalis have succeeded to rehabilitate and elevate the venue to provide a comfortable environment for the Constituent Assembly in this limited time period, that another great success is looming and that we are on the eve of a historic moment in Mogadishu where a real change is going to take place.