THE (INTERIM) CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND
The Constitution consists of a Preamble (Arar) and five main Chapters (Qaybo) each of which is sub-divided into Sections (Xubno). There are a total of 156 Articles (Qodobo) in all the Sections.
Translating a Constitution (or any other law) requires precision of language and where additional words which are not in the original Somaliland version of the Constitution are required to express more accurately the meaning of the phrases and legal concepts, these are put in italics and in brackets. Clearly, for interpretation purposes, the Somali version is the official source document, and will remain so even if an official English Language version is issued by the Somaliland Government. However, to enable a better understanding of the Constitution, I have added, sparingly, footnotes to explain some of the concepts.
It remains to be said that all errors and omissions- are mine, and I would be grateful to receive any comments or criticisms.
Ibrahim Hashi Jama
THE (INTERIM) CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOMALILAND
IN PURSUANCE of the resolutions of the Conference of the Somaliland Communities held in Burao on 27th April to 5th May 1991, which reaffirmed (our) independence with effect from 18th May 1991;
NOTING that the Conference of the Elders of the Somaliland Communities held in Borama from 24th January to 25th May 1993 adopted a National Charter which:
· laid down that a national constitution which will replace the national charter be prepared and consulted upon within a year; (and)
· set out clearly the constitutional principles and the governmental structures, trustful of their inalienable right to decide their destiny.
HAVING experienced the dire consequences of the application of a constitution not grounded on national beliefs, culture and aspirations as was the case for a period of thirty years;
HAVING experienced the devastation wrought by a regime based on dictatorship and a policy of divide and rule to which the country was subjected for over twenty years; and ever vigilant of the return of such a regime;
REMEMBERING the series of struggles waged by the people, such as that of the “Darawiish”, religious leaders and patriots;
MINDFUL of the vigorous campaign led by the patriotic organisation, the SNM, which culminated in the reassertion of (our) independence which was achieved through sacrifice of life and property so that the nation can enjoy a governmental system which meets its needs;
DESIROUS of a state which fulfils the aspirations of the nation, and is thereby appreciated by all; and which is founded on equality and justice;
RECOGNISING that durable stability, peace, and the (proper) management of the national economy and the realisation of the national aspirations can be achieved;
CONFIDENT that the Somaliland nation is a family that has everything in common, such religion, culture, customs, language and whose members are no different from each other and are ready to build together a government in which everyone has an equal stake;
AWARE that the preparation of the Constitution has gone through various stages and committees, the last one of which was its consideration by the Constitution Working Party which was enjoined by the third General Conference on 26th November 1996 to sift through the two draft versions of the Constitution, and in particular, to consider the following issues:
a. the Islamic Sharia,
b. conclusions from the various consultations,
c. the separation of powers of the state as between the legislative, the executive and the judiciary,
d. the decentralisation of the administration of the government,
e. guarantees of private property rights and the protection of the free market,
f. sanctity of human life through the entrenchment of fundamental rights and personal freedoms,
g. peaceful and proper co-existence with the states in the region and world wide;
HAVING thoroughly considered the provisions of the preamble and the Constitution;
The people of Somaliland hereby approve and proclaim to the whole world on this …… day of …… 199-, that this constitution has been adopted as the nation’s Constitution.
Forward and General Principles
Article 1: The state of the Republic of Somaliland
1. The country which gained its independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 26th June 1960 and was known as the Somaliland Protectorate and which joined Somalia on 1st July 1960 so as to form the Somali Republic and then regained its independence by the declaration of the Conference of the Somaliland communities held in Burao between 27th April 1991 and 15th May 1991, shall hereby and in accordance with this Constitution become a sovereign and independent country known as the Republic of Somaliland (hereafter referred to, sometimes, as Somaliland).
2. Sovereignty resides in the people who shall exercise it in accordance with the Constitution and other laws.
Article 2: The territory of the Republic of Somaliland
1. The territory of the Republic of Somaliland covers the same area as that of the former Somaliland Protectorate and is located between Latitude 8’ to 11’ 30’ north of the equator and Longitude 42’ 45 to 49’ East; and consists of the land, islands, and territorial waters, above and below the surface; the airspace and the continental shelf.
2. The Republic of Somaliland is bordered by the Gulf of Aden to the north; Somalia to the east; the Federal Republic of Ethiopia to the south and the west; and the Republic of Djibouti to the north west.
3. The territory of the nation is inviolate; and cannot be trespassed upon.
Article 3: The Capital
The capital of the Republic of Somaliland is Hargeisa.
Article 4: Citizenship
1. Any person born in Somaliland, who is the descendant of a person residing in Somaliland on 26th June 1960 or earlier, shall be recognised as a citizen of Somaliland.
2. The law shall determine the acquisition or loss of the citizenship of Somaliland.
Article 5: Religion
1. Islam is the religion of the nation; and the promotion of any religion in the territory of Somaliland, other than Islam, is prohibited.
2. The laws of the nation shall be grounded on, and shall not be valid if they are contrary to, Islamic Sharia.
3. The Government shall promote religious tenets (religious affairs), and shall fulfil Sharia principles and discourage immoral acts and reprehensible behaviour.
4. The calendar shall be the Islamic Calendar based on the hijra and the Gregorian Calendar.
Article 6: Language
1. The official language of the Republic of Somaliland is Somali; and the second language is Arabic.
2. Other languages shall be used when necessary.
Article 7: The Flag
The flag of the Republic of Somaliland shall consist of three horizontal, parallel and equal sections; the top section of which is coloured green and has inscribed in its midst in white in Arabic language (the phrase) La Ilaaho Ila-Allaah Muhammad Rasuulah-Allaah (There is no God, but Allah and Mohammad was his Prophet); the middle section is white and has inscribed in its midst an equally sided five pointed black star; and the bottom section is coloured clear red.
Article 8: The Emblem
The emblem of the nation shall consist of a coffee coloured falcon with (the words), in Arabic language, “ALLAHU AKBAR” (God is great) inscribed on its breast. Below the eagle are two hands shaking, and a set of scales hang above it and come down on both of its sides. The eagle and (and the scales and hands) are in turn surrounded on both sides and below by two strands of green leaves, which have in their midst inscribed in Arabic language, Bisimallhi rahmani rahim.
Article 9: The National Anthem
The National Anthem shall be determined by law and shall reflect the principles of the Constitution, the national aspirations, and co-operative social order; and shall have its own unique music which is different from that of other national anthems.
Article 10: Equality of Citizens
1. All citizens of Somaliland shall enjoy equal rights and obligations before the law; and shall not be favoured on grounds of colour, clan, birth, language, gender, property, status, opinion etc.
2. Ranking and discrimination on grounds of ethnicity, clan affiliation, birth and residence is prohibited.
3. Foreigners lawfully resident in Somaliland shall enjoy rights and obligations before the law equal to those enjoyed by citizens.
Article 11: Political System
1. The political system of the Republic of Somaliland shall be based on peace, co-operation, democracy and plurality of political parties.
2. The number of political parties in Somaliland shall not exceed three.
3. A special law shall determine the procedures for the formation of a political party, but it is unlawful to for any political party to be based on regionalism or clanism .
Article 12: Foreign Relations
1. The Republic of Somaliland shall observe all treaties and agreements entered into by the former government of Somalia with foreign countries or corporations provided that these do not conflict with the interests of the Republic of Somaliland.
2. The Republic of Somaliland recognises and shall act in conformity with the United Nations Charter and with international law; and shall respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
3. The Republic of Somaliland accepts the principles of co-operation amongst the nations of the world.
4. It accepts that political disputes which arise, shall be settled through dialogue and peaceful means; and shall respect the territorial integrity of other countries.
5. It shall endeavour to replace the long standing disputes between the countries in the Horn of Africa with better understanding and closer relations.
6. The state of the Republic of Somaliland is an independent republic which has its place among the Arab nations, and the peoples of Africa and the Islamic World; and shall accordingly endeavour to join the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity, the Arab League and the Islamic Conference.
7. The state of the Republic of Somaliland shall oppose terrorism etc. (and similar acts), regardless of the motives for such acts.
Article 13: The National Economy
1. The Government shall lay down the national economic policy based on free enterprise and the joint working of private property, hantida wadaareed, public wealth and foreign investment so as to realise the growth of productivity, the raising of the standard of living, the creation of jobs, and, in general, the promotion of the economy of the nation.
2. In order to ensure that economic system does not lead to the exclusive enrichment of a group or a small section of the public, which will create divisions among those who are prosperous and those who are not and the widening of the economic gulf between the urban and rural communities, the Government shall ensure that social benefits and economic opportunities are provided in an equitable manner.
3. The Government shall ensure the security of foreign investment in the country; and such investment shall be regulated by law.
Article 14: Economic Development
The Government shall encourage the indigenous economic production such as agriculture; livestock; fisheries; minerals; production of frankincense and myrrh and gum etc., and the manufacture of local products.
Article 15: Public Assets
1. The safeguarding and care of public assets is the responsibility of the Government and all citizens; and any damage to them shall be dealt with in accordance with the law.
2. Where the ownership or the benefits of a public asset are considered to be necessary to be transferred, these may be transferred in accordance with the law.
3. The Government is responsible for the care, improvement and betterment of religious endowments (Awqaaf), and the law shall determine their management.
4. The payment of Zakat is a cornerstone of Islam, and its administration shall be determined by law.
Article 16: “Natural Resources and Land”
1. The central government is responsible for the natural resources of the country, and shall take all possible steps to explore and exploit all these resources which are available in the nation’s land or sea. The protection and the best means of the exploitation of these resources shall be determined by law.
2. All the (common) land is the property of the nation, and the Government is responsible for it.
Article 17: Banks
The Government shall establish a Central Bank which shall control the monetary system and the currency of the nation. The opening of commercial and development banks shall be made possible and special banks shall be accorded preferential status.
Article 18: Taxes and Duties
1. The imposition of taxes and other duties shall be based on the welfare and well being of the society.
2. The imposition, non-payment and changes in taxes and other duties shall be determined by law.
3. No taxes or duties may be imposed without due process of law.
Article 19: Usury
Usury and financial practices which are against the interests of the public and unlawful enrichment are prohibited.
Article 20: Education
1. The Government shall pay particular attention to the promotion, development and the wide transmission of knowledge and education as it recognises that education is the best investment which can play a major part in political, economic and social development.
2. (The pursuit of ) education is in the public interest; and is rooted (kuna habeesan waayaha) in the experience and the (deegaanka gaar ahaaneed) special culture of the Somaliland society??
3. The learning of and training in the Islamic religion is a fundamental issue (dariiqad?); and will be compulsory in all levels of education.
4. All citizens and resident foreigners may open schools (or institutions) for education or training of all levels in accordance with the Education laws.
5. Vocational and skills training shall be accorded a (first) prority.
6. The promotion of Koranic schools is the responsibility of the Government.
Article 21: Primary Education
1. The Government shall accord a (first) priority to primary education; and shall endeavour to spread primary education in the regions and the districts.
2. The aim of the Government is that education should, as soon as possible, be free.
Article 22: Eradication of Illiteracy
The eradication of illiteracy and the (provision) of adult education is a national objective, and the efforts of the public and the Government should be combined to fulfil this object.
Article 23: Promotion of Knowledge and Literature
1. The Government shall promote knowledge and literature; and shall encourage creativity (innovation) and research.
2. The law shall determine the rights to authoring, composing and inventing (intellectual property).
Article 24: Youth and Sport
In order to ensure a healthy physical and mental growth of the young, and to improve their well being (dareenkooda) and maturity, the Government shall give special attention to the promotion and encouragement of physical education and sports which will be recognised as one of the basic subjects in the educational curriculum in both state and other schools.
Article 25: Promotion of Arts and Culture
1. The Government shall promote the Arts and the modest culture of the society whilst at the same time benefiting from the knowledge of other world societies. Literature, the arts, and national sports will be specially encouraged whilst islamic behaviour is observed.
2. The Government shall foster good customs and shall aim to rid the society of (bad) customs which damage the religious beliefs, development, culture and health of the society; and will set a programme for combating such (bad) customs.
3. The manufacture of beers and alcoholic drinks and the manufacture, sale and use of drugs in the territory of Somaliland is unlawful.
4. The Government shall set a programme for changing habits so as to combat the use of Khat and the smoking of cigarettes etc.
Article 26: Settlement and Disaster Relief
1. The safeguarding of settlements is essential for the well being of the society and the care of the natural resources; and the Government shall give particular attention to the welfare and security of settlements.
2. The Government shall undertake relief in disasters such as famine, storms, epidemics, earthquakes, and war.
3. The punishment of crimes against settlements shall be determined by law.
Article 27: Health
1. In order to fulfil a policy of promoting general health and welfare, the Government shall have the duty of eradicating diseases from the country, prevention of communicable diseases, provision of free medicines and care of the general welfare (?).
2. The Government shall be responsible for the promotion and the development of healthcare and special healthcare centres
Article 28: The Welfare of the Family
The family is the foundation of the Islamic society, and is grounded on religion, morality and culture. The Government will therefore be responsible for the well-being and protection of the mother and child.
Article 29: Child Care
1. The Government shall be responsible for the care, development or education of orphaned children who have no one to care for them.
2. The Government shall care for children whose parents died in the defence of the country.
Article 30: Care of the Disabled, the Elderly and the Mentally Handicapped
The Government shall be responsible for the care of the disabled and the elderly who have no one to care for them; and of the mentally handicapped persons.
Article 31: Work and Labour
1. All able citizens have a right and a duty work. The Government shall therefore be responsible for the training of citizens in technical and professional skills.
2. The employment of the young and women, night working and working establishments will be regulated by the Labour Law.
3. Except as provided by law, forced labour is unlawful in the Republic of Somaliland.
4. All employees have a right to payment appropriate to the work they undertake, and are free to enter into agreements with their employers.
5. All employees have a right to form trades or professional associations which can enter into disputes and agreements with their employers; and the Government shall endeavour to create co-operation between employees and employers and shall accordingly introduce a law (in this respect).
Article 32: The Welfare of Employees
1. Employees are entitled to weekly rest and annual holiday.
2. The weekly hours and days of work and rest days shall be generally determined by law.
3. State employees and members of the armed forces shall be entitled remuneration for their duties and to payments for sickness, injury, or disability in accordance with the law.
Article 33: Insurance and Safety
The Government shall promote the (habka taakulaynta), insurance and safety of employees and shall strengthen the responsible Bodies.
The rights of the individual, fundamental freedoms and the duties of citizens
Article 34: Implementation and Interpretation
1. The legislative, executive and judicial branches of the state and the local government of the regions and the districts of the Republic of Somaliland, of all levels, shall be covered by the provisions of this Section.
2. The articles which relate to rights and freedoms shall be interpreted in a manner consistent with the international conventions on human rights and international laws referred to in this Constitution.
Article 35: Political, Economic and Social Rights
Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the political, economic, social and cultural affairs in accordance with the laws and the Constitution.
Article 36: Electoral Right
Every citizen who fulfils the requirements of the law shall have the right to be elected (to an office) and to vote.
Article 37: Freedom of Movement
1. Every person who is a citizen or lawfully resident, shall be free to move or settle any where in the country, or leave the country or return at will.
2. The matters set out in Clause 1 of this Article are without prejudice to places where and times when the law restricts movement or settlement.
Article 38: Freedom of Assembly
1. All citizens shall have the right to form, in accordance with the law, political, educational, cultural, occupational or employees’ associations.
2. Associations which have objectives which are contrary to the public interest or are secret or are military in nature or armed or are against the law, whatever their outward appearance might be, shall be prohibited.
Article 39: The Right to Life
Human life is the gift of Allah and is beyond price. Every person has the right to life, and shall only be deprived of life if it is proved in a court (of law) that he committed an offence punishable by death.
Article 40: The Right to Security of the Person
Every person shall have the right to security of his person. Physical punishment and any other injury to the dignity of the person is prohibited.
Article 41: The Right to Liberty
1. No person shall be deprived of his liberty except in accordance with the law.
2. No person may be detained, searched, or imprisoned without subsequent involvement of or an arrest warrant properly issued by a competent judge.
Article 42: Crime and Punishment
1. Crimes and (their) punishment shall be laid down by the law; and no punishment shall be administered in a manner which is contrary to the law.
2. The liability for the punishment of any crime shall be confined to the offender only.
3. An accused person is innocent until proven guilty in a court (of law).
Article 43: The Rights of Persons Deprived of their Liberty
1. Any person who is deprived of his liberty has a right to meet as soon as possible his advisers, relatives or any other persons he asks for.
2. Any person who is arrested or detained in custody for allegations of criminal offences, shall have the right to be brought before a court within 48 hours of his arrest or detention.
3. No person shall be compelled to proffer a confession, a witness statement or testimony under oath. Any such matters (evidence) obtained under duress shall not be valid.
4. No person shall be detained in a place which is not determined by law.
5. The law shall lay down the maximum period in which a person can be detained in custody pending investigations.
6. Any accused person who is convicted by a court shall have the right to appeal to a higher court.
7. When a person is detained in custody or his detention is extended, he shall have the right to have his status communicated to any person he so chooses.
8. Prisons are for reform and rehabilitation; and the Government is responsible for the rehabilitation and skills training of prisoners so that they can return to society with reformed characters.
9. The punishment for the infringement of clauses 1 to 7 of this Article shall be determined by law.
Article 44: Right to Trial and Defence
1. Every person shall have the right to institute proceedings in a competent court in accordance with the law.
2. Every person shall have the right to defend himself in a court.
3. The state shall provide free legal defence in matters which are determined by the law, and court fees may be waived for the indigent.
Article 45: The Sanctity of the Home
The home and other dwellings shall be inviolable; and their surveillance, search and entry shall not be allowed without a duly issued order from a judge. Any such order must be properly read to the proprietor or occupier before entry is effected. It is prohibited for any person carrying out a search to contravene the order of a judge.
Article 46: Freedom of Communication
No person’s private written communication, postal letters, or telecommunications shall be interfered with except in matters in which the law allows their investigation, tracing or interception and a duly issued order from a judge has been obtained.
Article 47: The Right to Own Property
1. Every person shall have the right to own private property which is acquired lawfully.
2. Private property acquired lawfully shall not be expropriated except for reasons of public interest and provided that proper compensation is paid.
3. The law shall determine matters which are within the public interest which may bring about the expropriation of private property.
Article 48: Freedom of Public Demonstration and Expression of Opinion
1. Every citizen shall have the freedom, in accordance with the law, to express his opinions orally, visually or artistically or in any other way.
2. Every citizen shall have the freedom, in accordance with the law, to organise or participate in any peaceful assembly or public demonstration.
Article 49: The Right to Dignity and Private Life
Every person shall have the right to have his dignity, reputation and private life respected.
Article 50: Freedom of Belief
1. Every person shall have the right to freedom of belief, and shall not be compelled to adopt another belief. Islamic Law does not accept that a Muslim person can discard his beliefs.
2. The Mosque is a blessed place and deserves veneration. It is the place for preaching religion and for providing the nation with guidance in spiritual and temporal matters; and sedition therein is prohibited. The Government shall be responsible for its general protection and support, as is practicable.
Article 51: Freedom of the Press and other Information
The press and other methods of public information are part of the fundamental freedoms of expression of opinion and are independent. All acts to subjugate them are prohibited, and a law shall determine their regulation.
Article 52: Guarantees and the Provisions of Rights and Freedoms
1. The Government shall guarantee to all citizens the rights and freedoms, and the punishment for any of their infringements shall be determined by law.
2. The freedoms of the person shall not override the laws protecting the national interest, the security of the country or the rights of other individuals.
Article 53: The Duties of the Citizen
1. Every citizen shall, in accordance with the law, have the duty to strengthen the unity of the nation, the protection of the sovereignty of the state, and the defence of the country and the religion.
2. Every person has the duty to respect the Constitution and the laws of the country.
3. Every person has the duty to pay promptly his taxes and other duties as imposed under the law.
4. Every person shall have the duty to protect the well-being, security and the peace of settlements.
Article 54: Punishment for Non-fulfillment of Duties
The law shall determine the punishment for the derogation from the duties imposed in Article 53.
Article 55: Crimes Against Human Rights
Crimes against human rights such as torture, extra-judicial killings, mutilation etc shall have no limitation periods.
Article 56: Extradition and Asylum
1. The Republic of Somaliland shall extradite to their countries convicted or accused foreigners if there is a treaty between the Republic of Somaliland and the country requesting their extradition.
2. Any foreigner who enters the country lawfully resident in the country and requests political asylum may be accorded asylum if he fulfils the conditions necessary for the grant of asylum.
3. The extradition of a Somaliland citizen to another country is prohibited.
Article 57: The Rights of Women
1. The rights, freedoms and duties laid down in the Constitution are to be enjoyed equally by men and women save for matters which are specifically ordained in Islamic Law.
2. The Government shall promote the right of women to be free of practices which are contrary to Sharia and which are injurious to their person and dignity.
3. Women have the right to own, manage, safeguard, trade in, sell or buy property in accordance with the law.
4. In order to raise the levels of education and income of women, and in particular, the welfare of the family, women shall have the right to be offered education in home economics and have opened for them vocational and technical schools and adult education.
Article 58: ( General Principles)
General principles shall not enforced by the courts, but shall be of guidance to the Government in the fulfilment of responsibilities in relation to the implementation of the laws.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE STATE
Article 59: The Powers and Sovereignty of the State
1. Allah who created the Somaliland state in this land has endowed it with sovereign status and powers. The people of the Republic of Somaliland has vested the power as set out in this Constitution in a Government which shall be founded on, and shall act in accordance with, the Constitution.
2. The structure of the state shall consist of three branches which are: the legislative, the executive and the judiciary. The separation of the powers of these branches shall be as set out in the Constitution. Each branch shall exercise independently the particular powers accorded to it under the Constitution.
The Legislative Branch
Article 60: The Parliament
1. The legislative powers of the Republic of Somaliland are vested in the Parliament which shall consist of two chambers which are the House of Representatives and the House of the Elders.
2. The power to legislate cannot transferred to anyone outside the Parliament.
3. All bills passed by the Parliament shall come into force when the President promulgates them in accordance with the Constitution.
4. The Parliament shall fulfil its duties in accordance with the Constitution and other subordinate legislation.
5. The most important objectives of the Parliament’s duties are as follows:
a) The protection of the peace and security of the Republic and the sovereign rule over its land, sea and air.
b) The Republic of Somaliland to adopt all the laws necessary in a muslim state.
c) The implementation of the laws of the Republic; the establishment of a system of justice which is the foundation for general order; and co-operation between the members of the Somaliland public and their reliance on each other.
6. The two Houses of the Parliament shall hold joint and separate sittings.
Article 61: Joint Sittings of the Two Parliamentary Chambers
The two Houses of the Parliament may sit jointly when considering matters such as the following:
a) The receipt of the Report of the President on the opening of one of the two chambers;
b) The debates on the Republic of Somaliland joining an international or cross regional organisation, or the ratification of international or regional treaties;
c) The Resolution on and declaration of war when the Republic of Somaliland is faced with war;
d) The debates on the removal from office of the President and the Vice-President;
e) The debates on natural disasters;
f) The debates relating to emergency laws;
g) The debates on the confirmation of the appointment of the Chairman of the Supreme Court; and
h) Any other matters considered by the two chambers as meriting joint sittings.
The House of Representatives
Article 62: General Provisions of the House
The House of Representatives consists of representatives of the public; and forms the first part of the country’s legislative, passing laws and approving and overseeing the general political situation and the leadership of the country.
Article 63: The Number and Election of the House
The House of Representatives shall consist of 82 members who shall be directly elected by secret ballot in a free general election.
Article 64: Eligibility for Candidacy
Any person who is standing for election to the House of Representatives must fulfil the following conditions:
1. He must be a muslim and must live according to the Islamic religion.
2. He must be a citizen and his aged less than 35 (thirty five years).
3. He must be physically and mentally able to fulfil his duties.
4. He must be educated to secondary school level or, at least, equivalent.
5. He must not have been subject of a final sentence by a court within the last five years.
6. He must be a responsible person with appropriate character and behaviour.
7. No employee of the Government shall be eligible for candidacy unless he has requested resignation from his office prior to a period determined by the law. Such resignation shall be accepted.
Article 65: Period of Office and Election Terms
1. The period of office of the House of Representatives is 5 (five) years beginning from the date when the Supreme Court makes the electoral declaration.
2. The President shall announce the election of the new House a month before the expiry of the period of office of the outgoing House.
3. If the election of the House of Representatives cannot be conducted because of dire circumstances, the outgoing House shall continue in office until the end of these circumstances and a new House can be elected. Dire circumstances are: a wide war, internal instability, serious natural disasters, such as earthquakes, epidemic diseases, (and) serious famines; and shall be determined by a resolution of the House of Elders on the proposal of the Council of Government.
Article 66: The Seat of the House of Representatives
The seat of the House of Representatives is the Capital City.
Article 67: The Convening of the new House
1. The new House shall hold its inaugural meeting within 30 (thirty) days from the date when the electoral declaration is made; and shall be convened by the president of the Republic.
2. If the President fails to convene the inaugural meeting, the House shall meet on its own initiative on the 45th (forty fifth) day beginning from the date when the electoral declaration is made.
3. The new House shall be opened by the Chairman of the Supreme Court who shall administer the oath of office of the members. The meeting of the House shall then be chaired by the oldest member (in age), and the House shall then elect among its members a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker.
Article 68: The Meetings of the House of Representatives
1. The meetings of the House shall are open, but can also be closed; and will be set out in regulations.
2. The quorum of the meetings of the House is the presence of over half of its membership disregarding the vacancies which have been announced.
3. The resolutions of the House shall be passed by a simple majority of the members present at the meeting, with the exception of constitutional issues or subordinate legislation which the House proposes for adoption by a qualified majority.
4. The postponement of a meeting shall be carried by a simple majority (by 1 vote); and the meeting can then be postponed for a maximum of (7) seven days.
5. Ministers and Deputy Ministers have a duty to attend the meetings of the House of representatives if requested in writing to do so; and they shall have the right to participate on the debate, but can not vote. In the same way, the President may ask the Vice-President or a Minister to attend on his behalf the meetings of the House.
Article 69: Sessions and the Procedures of the House of Representatives
1. The House shall hold 3 (three) ordinary sessions every year which shall last 28 (twenty eight) weeks. The sessions shall be separated by a period of, minimum, 4 (four) weeks and, maximum, 8 (eight) weeks.
2. An extra-ordinary session of the House of Representatives may be held:
a) On request of the President;
b) On convening by the Chairman of the House of Representatives;
c) On request in writing of 1/3 (one third) of the members of the House.
3. The House shall adopt its regulations at its first session; and shall established such committees that it deems necessary.
4. The President shall deliver the Speech to the Nation at the start of the first session of each year. The Speech shall cover the political situation, the Government’s programme, the economy, the finances and security.
Article 70: The Pay and Remuneration of the House of Representatives
The members of the House of Representatives shall be entitled to pay and remuneration as determined by law.
Article 71: Prohibition of Holding other Office and Private Gain
The members of the House of Representatives shall not hold any other office of the nation whilst serving as representatives; and shall not use their office for private gain.
Article 72: The Privileges of the Members of the House of Representatives
1. No member of the House may be detained, and no action may be taken against him for any matter which he learnt his or raised at the House or on which he cast his opinions.
2. The rule in Clause 1 does not extend to insults or slander committed by the member.
3. No member of the House of Representatives shall be investigated or inquired into; nor detained, arrested or otherwise punished without the consent of the House of Representatives.
4. Action may be taken against the member if he is caught in flagrante delicto for an offence, in which case, the House shall be informed promptly.
5. The House shall consider whether the action taken against the member is proper.
6. If the House is not in session, consent for the action taken against the member must be sought from the Standing Committee of the House of Representatives, and the House shall be informed at the following session.
7. Civil suits against a member of the House of Representatives may be instituted, and no consent is required.
Article 73: Loss of Membership of the House of Representatives
The membership of the House of Representatives shall be lost on:
1. the death of the member or incapacity which makes it impossible for him to fulfil his duties;
2. the voluntary resignation by the member, which has been accepted by the House;
3. one of the conditions of his election no longer being valid???; or on the member’s failure to fulfil his duties;
4. the passing of a final sentence for a crime which has been proven in a court of law;
5. the absence without excuse from 20 (twenty) consecutive sittings (of the House).
Article 74: Filling Vacant Seats in the House of Representatives
If a seat of the House of Representatives becomes vacant during any period prior to the final six months of the term of office of the House, it shall be filled as determined by law, and the new member shall serve for the reminder of the term of office.
Article 75: Secretary of the House of Representatives and Advisers
1. The House of representatives shall have a Secretariat headed by a General Secretary who is not a member of the House. He shall assist in the proper conduct of the meetings of the House and in administration, and in all financial and management issue; and shall have a deputy.
2. The Secretariat of the House of Representatives shall include a Legal Adviser who shall meet the same requirements laid down by the Constitution for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court.
3. The other employees of the Secretariat shall be appointed by the Secretary General on the advice of the Civil Service Agency.
Article 76: Introduction of Draft Legislation
Draft Legislation may be introduced at the House of Representatives by:
1. The Government (the Cabinet).
2. The requisite number of members of the House of Representatives as laid down in Regulations passed by the House.
3. Except for financial bills, at least 5000 (five thousand) persons who are eligible to vote.
Draft legislation shall become law on approval by the House of Representatives; and shall be promulgated after its signature by the President in accordance with Article 60.
Article 78: The Powers and Duties of the House of Representatives
1. All appointments of Ministers, Deputy Ministers or Heads of the Bodies of the Government are subject to confirmation by the House of Representatives in accordance with the Constitution.
2. The House of Representatives shall also have power to consider, debate, reject with reasons or approve the programme of the Government.
3. The House of Representatives shall ratify international agreements and treaties including political, economic and security agreements or those agreements which impose new financial burden which has not been covered in the Budget; or which will involve the promulgation or amendment of legislation.
4. The House of Representatives shall submit to the Government (the Cabinet) advice and recommendations about the general political leadership.
5. The Government (the Cabinet) shall seek the approval of both Houses (the House of Representatives and the House of Elders) for declarations of state of emergency in either parts of or the whole of the country.
6. The House of Representatives shall have the power to summon the Government or its Bodies or Agencies in order to question them about the fulfilment of their responsibilities.
7. The Committees of the House of Representatives shall have the power to put questions about the fulfilment of their responsibilities to the Ministers or the Heads of the Bodies of the Government or the other senior national officers with relevant duties.
The legislative powers of the House shall extend to the following financial affairs:
1. The imposition of taxes, duties and other revenue schemes.
2. The establishment of Somaliland revenue (fundraising) saving or other savings schemes which are earmarked (qoondeeyey) for specific issues. The administration of these schemes, their collection and payments shall be determined by law.
3. The printing of currency, and the issue of bonds (loan certificates), and other involving (qiima damaanadeed) security for loans.
4. The regulation of the economic and the financial systems (nidamyada)
Article 80: The Budget
1. The House of Representatives shall have the power to debate, amend the Budget, and approve it by resolution.
2. If the new Budget is not approved before the start of the new financial year, the old Budget shall continue to be in force until such time the new one is approved.
3. The House of Representatives shall approve any expenditure which was not included in the Budget.
4. The preparation of the general Budget and the financial year shall be determined by law.
5. The budget and the annual accounts of the Bodies, agencies, companies and other partly owned bodies of the Government and their presentation to the House of Representatives shall be determined by law.
6. The annual accounts (xisaab-xidhka Miisaniyaddii guud ) shall be presented to the House of Representatives within six months of the end of the financial year to which they relate, and the House shall debate them and reach a resolution thereof.
7. The Auditor General shall have responsibility for the presentation of the annual accounts.
Article 81: Dissolution of the House of Representatives
The House of Representatives may be dissolved:
1. When the House does not sit for two consecutive ordinary sessions without any circumstances beyond their control.
2. When dissolution is proposed by a 1/3 (one third) of the members of the House; and is approved by 2/3s (two thirds) of the total members of the House.
3. The Constitutional Court shall issue a resolution in respect of the matters referred to in sections 1 and 2 of this Article, and shall submit the resolution relating to section 1 to the President and the resolution relating to section 2 to the House of Representatives.
4. The House of Representatives may also be dissolved by the President after the public has agreed in a national referendum organised by the Constitutional Court to the reasons for the dissolution.
5. When the President considers the resolution of the Constitutional Court issued in respect of the matters referred to in sections 1 or 2 of this article, or the result of the national referendum under section 4 of this Article, he shall promulgate a Presidential Decree dissolving the House of Representatives and at the same time setting out the date of the election of the new House, which shall take place within 60 (sixty) days.
6. If the national referendum does not approve of the dissolution or the new elections can not be held, the House shall continue with its duties.
7. The House of Representatives shall not be dissolved during the first year of its term of office, or during the last year of the President’s term of office.
Article 82: The Enactment, Promulgation and Implementation of Legislation
All laws shall be promulgated and published in the Official Journal by the president within three weeks (21 days) beginning from the date when the two House have forwarded them; and shall come into force within thirty (30) days beginning from their publication, although a longer or shorter period for coming into force may be set out in each legislation.
The House of Elders
Article 83: General Provisions of The House
The House of Elders of the Republic of Somaliland is the second body of the legislative, and shall review the legislation passed by the House of Representatives before it is forwarded to the President; and shall have special responsibility for passing the laws relating to the religion, culture and security.
Article 84: The Election of The Members of the House and their Period of Office
1. The members of the House of Elders shall be elected in a manner to be determined by law.
2. The period of office of the House of Elders is six (6) years beginning from the date of its first meeting.
Article 85: Eligibility for Candidacy
Any person who is standing for election to the House of Elders must fulfil the following conditions:
1. He must not be aged less than 45 (thirty five years).
2. He must be a person who has a good knowledge of the religion or an elder who is versed in the culture.
Article 86: The Number of the House of Elders
1. The House of Elder shall have 82 members, and shall elect among its members a Chairman, two deputy Chairman and such committees as it deems necessary. The House shall have a Standing Committee of 25 (twenty five) members.
2. The following shall always become honorary members:
a) Five members to be selected by the President on the basis of their outstanding national achievements, whose term of office shall coincide with that of the House;
b) Any person who has served as a Chairman of the House of Elders or the House of Representatives;
c) Any person who has served as a President or Vice-President of the Republic of Somaliland;
d) Honorary members do not have the right to vote in the House and can not serve in the Standing Committee.
Article 87: The Secretary of the House and Advisers
The House of Elders shall have a secretary who is not a member of the House. It shall also have advisers, including a legal adviser. The structure of the Secretariat of the House shall similar to that of the House of Representatives.
Article 88: The Inaugural Meeting of the House of Elders
The inaugural meeting of the House of Elders shall take place within 30 (thirty) days of the date when the appointment to the House is completed. The meeting shall be opened and the oath of office by the Chairman of the Supreme Court; and shall be chaired by the eldest member of the House until the election of the official Speaker of the House and his two Deputies.
Article 89: The Rules of the House
At its first session, the House of Elders shall pass the Rules of the House.
Article 90: The Powers and Duties of the House of Elders
1. The passing of legislation relating to religion, culture and security.
2. With the exception of financial legislation, the review of legislation approved by the House of Representatives; and may refer back once with its written reasons any such legislation to the House of Representatives within 30 (thirty) days beginning from the date when the legislation is forwarded to the office of the Chairman of the House of Elders.
3. Advice on the shortcomings of the administration of the Government and the presentation of such advice to the house of Representatives.
4. Assistance to the Government in matters relating to religion, security, defence, culture, economy and society, whilst consulting the traditional heads of the communities (madax-dhaqmeedka Beelaha).
5. The summoning of the members of the Government and questions to them about the fulfilment of their duties.
6. The House of Elders has also the power to put to the House of Representatives proposals for projects so that the House of Representatives can debate and reach resolutions thereof.
Article 91: The Pay and Remuneration of the House of Elders
The members of the House of Elders shall be entitled to pay and remuneration as determined by law.
Article 92: The Privileges of the Members of the House of Elders
The privileges of the members of the House of Elders shall be the same as those of the House of Representatives.
Article 93: Resignation of Members of the House of Elders
The resignation from office of the members of the House of Elders shall be forwarded to the House for acceptance.
Article 94: Loss of the Membership of the House of Elders
1. A person may lose his membership of the House of Elders if one of the conditions under which he was selected is no longer valid, or he can not fulfil his duties in accordance with the regulations of the House of Elders.
2. If a member is subject of a final sentence for a crime which has been proven in a court of law. 
3. If the House accepts resignation.
Article 95: The Dissolution of the House
The House of Elders may be dissolved in the same manner as the House of Representatives.
Article 96: Prohibition of Holding other Office and Private Gain
The members of the House of Elders shall not hold any other public office whilst serving as members of the House; and shall not use their office for private gain.
Article 97: Meetings and Sessions
The meetings of the House of elders shall be open; and may be closed as provided in the Constitution. The quorum for meetings; the majority by which resolutions can be passed; and who shall call extra-ordinary sessions are identical to the procedures applicable to the House of representatives.
Article 98: Vacant Seats in the House of Elders and Procedures for Filling them
1. A seat at the House of Elders may become vacant on the realisation of one of the conditions set out in Article 73.
2. If a seat of the House of Elders becomes vacant during any period prior to the final six months of the term of office of the House, it shall be filled as determined by law, and the new member shall serve for the reminder of the term of office.
Article 99: The Procedures for Legislation
1. Each House of Parliament shall forward to other any draft legislation which it passes to the other for consideration and advice.
2. Each House can only refer back draft legislation to the other only once.
3. The Regulations of the Parliament shall lay down the procedures for advancing draft legislation, and shall make clear the special status of draft legislation relating to finance and those which the Government considers as being urgent, which shall deserve to be accorded priority.
4. Draft Legislation which is approved or passed by both Houses of Parliament on a 2/3s (two thirds) majority or more shall not be referred back by the President who shall thereby sign it. If the President considers that the draft legislation is in conflict with an article in the Constitution, he shall inform the Speaker of the House and the Attorney General who shall refer it to the Constitutional Court.
5. The President shall sign the draft legislation forwarded to him by Parliament within three weeks beginning from the date when the draft legislation was received at the Office of the President, providing that he has not referred it back to Parliament.
6. If the President fails to sign the draft legislation forwarded to him by Parliament within the relevant period, and has not referred it back to Parliament, then the draft legislation will henceforth become law, and shall be issued by the House which forwarded it.
1. With the exception of financial legislation, all draft legislation which is passed by the House of Representatives by a majority, shall be forwarded to the House of Elders who shall:
a) Approve it or propose amendments.
b) If the House of Elders does not approve the draft legislation, or their proposed amendments are not accepted by the House of Representatives, the latter has the right to refer back the draft legislation to the following session of the House of Elders.
If the House of Elders does not approve the draft legislation or submit a reply within a month, the draft legislation shall be passed and thereby forwarded to the President.
2. All draft legislation which is passed by the House of Elders by a majority shall be forwarded to the House of Representatives, which shall:
a) Approve it or propose amendments.
b) If the House of Representatives does not approve the draft legislation, it shall not be referred back.
3. If the President accepts the draft legislation which is passed by both Houses and forwarded to him, he shall issue it in the Official Gazette within (21) days. If, however, the President does not accept the draft legislation or proposes amendments, he shall inform the Speaker of the House of Representatives within (21) days his reasons for such action.
4. If the House is not satisfied by the reasons given by the President, and the draft legislation is passed again on a 2/3s (two thirds) majority of the members of the House, the President shall accept the draft legislation. In the event that there is no such majority, the draft legislation shall fail.
5. With the exception of financial legislation, if the House of Elders refuses to accept on a point of principle and by a 2/3s (two-thirds) majority of its membership draft legislation passed by the House of Representatives, and the House of Representatives is not satisfied by this rejection, but fails to pass it again by a majority of less than 2/3s (two-thirds) of its membership, then the draft legislation shall fail.
Article 101: The Seat of the House of Elders
The seat of the House of Elders is the Capital City.
Article 102: Accusations against the Members of the Houses
1. The members of the Houses (Representative or Elders) may be indicted for a criminal offence if they are caught in flagrant delicto for an offence which carries a punishment no less than (3) three years imprisonment.
They can not, however, be brought before a court, nor imprisoned until the members are stripped of their privileges and responsibilities that they hold for the nation.
2. The criminal prosecution brought against the accused members of the Houses, shall be conducted by the Attorney General after the appropriate House to which the members belong has stripped their privileges on a majority vote of two thirds of the membership of the House.
The case will be heard by the High Court of Justice.
Article 103: The President and the Vice-President
The state shall have an executive branch, which is independent of the legislative and the judiciary.
The executive (sometimes referred to as “the Government”), shall be headed by the President and shall consist of:
· The President;
· The Vice-President;
· The Ministers; and
· The Deputy Ministers.
The President shall fulfil his duties in accordance with the Constitution and other laws.
Article 106: The Conditions for Eligibility for Election as President or Vice-President
A person must fulfil the following conditions for him to be elected as President or Vice-President:
1. He must be a citizen by birth of Somaliland, and who does not hold any other citizenship, notwithstanding residence as a refugee in another country.
2. He must be a Muslim, and must be live by Islamic principles.
3. He must not be aged less than 40 years.
4. He must be physically and mentally fit to fulfil his duties.
5. He must be posses knowledge of and experience in management (public and otherwise).
6. He must not have been convicted bu a court for an offence against the Somaliland nation.
7. His spouse must be Muslim.
8. He must be fully apprised of the realities of the country, having been resident in the country for a period of at least two years before the date when the election is scheduled to take place.
9. He must register his private property.
Article 107: Election Procedures
1. The President and the Vice-President shall be elected jointly through a direct general election by means of a secret ballot.
2. The election of the President and the Vice-President which shall be held at the same time and based on a list system shall take place a month before the end of the term of office of the outgoing President.
3. The outgoing President and Vice-President shall continue in office until the new President and the Vice-President take over within a month (of the election).
4. The two candidates whose list obtains the highest number of votes cast in Presidential and Vice-Presidential election shall be accepted as having won the election.
5. In the event that it is not possible, because of security considerations, to hold the Presidential and Vice-Presidential election, the House of Elders shall extend the term of office of the sitting President and Vice-President and shall consider the period in which the situation shall be overcome and the election can be held.
Before the President and the Vice-President can assume office, they shall be sworn at a ceremony attended by the Speakers of the House of Representatives and the House of Elders and the Chairman of the Supreme Court.
Article 109: Matters in which the President and the Vice-President are not Allowed
2. The President shall not be absent from the country for a period exceeding (30) consecutive days unless the absence is for reasons of health.
3. All presents given to the President, the Vice-President, their spouses and the senior officers of the nation as a mark of respect for their office shall be the property of the nation.
Article 110: Procedure for the Termination of Office of the President
1. The President or the Vice-President may forward his written resignation from office to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Speaker of the House of Elders; and the two Houses may, in a joint sitting, accept it or reject it by a simple majority of the their total membership.
2. If the two Houses reject the resignation as referred to in section 1 of this Article, the President or the Vice-President has the right to submit again his resignation from office within three months of the initial resignation request, whereupon the two Houses are obliged to accept it.
Article 111: Salary and Emoluments
The salary, emoluments and the public property to which the President and the Vice-President are entitled to shall be determined by law.
Article 112: Term of Office
1. The term of office of the President and the Vice-President is 5 years beginning from the date of swearing into office.
2. No person may hold the office of President for more than two terms.
Article 113: Vacancy
The office of President or Vice president may become vacant in the event of the one of the following:
b) Conviction for a criminal offence which leads to loss of office.
c) Inability to fulfil the duties of the office because of ill health.
Article 114: Procedures for Filling the Vacancy
1. In the event of the one of the circumstances set out in Article 113 happening to the President, the Vice-President will assume his office and shall act as the President until the end of the term of office. The President will then nominate a Vice-President from among the members of the House of Representatives and shall seek the approval of the two Houses.
The person appointed as Vice-President shall hold office for the remainder of the term of office and shall lose his membership of the House of representatives.
2. Similarly, in the event of the one of the circumstances set out in Article 113 happening to the Vice-President, the President shall nominate a member of the House of Representatives as Vice-President and shall seek the approval of the two Houses. The honourable appointee shall hold office for the remainder of the term of office, and his seat at the House of Representatives shall then become vacant. If the House refuse to confirm the appointment, the President shall nominate another member of the house of Representatives within 30 days beginning from the date of refusal of confirmation by the two Houses.
3. In the event of the one of the circumstances set out in Article 113 happening to both the President and the Vice-President at the same time, the office of President shall assumed temporarily by the Speaker of the House of Elders. The election of the President and the Vice-President shall then be held within 60 days beginning from the date when the circumstance took place.
Article 115: The Powers of the President
The President is the Head of the State and the Government, and represents the unity of the citizens of the Republic of Somaliland. He is responsible for the care of the nation’s resources, the protection of the security, the advancement of the society and the proper conduct of the administration of the Government. In order to fulfil these responsibilities, the President shall have following powers:
1. The leadership of the general political direction of the Government.
2. The appointment and removal from office of the members of the Council of Ministers.
3. Having consulted the appropriate Ministers and in accordance with the Constitution and other special laws, the appointment and removal from office of the senior officers of the Government. Such senior officers of the Government are:
a) The Auditor-General;
b) The Chairman of the Central Bank;
c) The Chairman and the Committee members of the Civil Service Agency;
d) The Chief Accountant;
e) The Director Generals of the Ministries and the Agencies;
f) The Commanders of the Armed Forces and their deputies;
h) The Attorney General; and
i) The appointment and removal from office of any other senior officers in accordance with any such powers given to the President by legislation passed by the two Houses.
4. The leadership of the national Armed Forces as he is the Commander-in-Chief;
5. The exercise of pardon and amnesty, excepting qisaasta iyo xuduudda Islamic laws; and the grant of political asylum after consultation with the appropriate bodies.
6. The signing of international agreements.
7. The participation in international conferences as representative of the Republic of Somaliland.
8. Holding audience for foreign diplomats and receiving their credentials.
9. The appointment of Ambassadors representing the Republic of Somaliland in foreign countries, international and regional organisations.
10. The granting of awards and honours such as medals.
11. Leadership in conditions of war; and the proclamation of state of emergency.
12. The implementation of laws which do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Judicial branch.
13. Any other powers set out in the Constitution or any other laws.
Article 116: Powers of the Vice-President
The Vice-President of the State shall have the power:
1. To act as President in the absence or illness of the President.
2. To undertake such duties as delegated to him by the President.
3. To act as President in the event of the office of President becoming vacant because of:
a) The resignation of the President;
b) the conviction of the President for a crime which lead to loss of office;
c) inability to undertake the duties the duties to which he was elected because of ill health; and
Article 117: Other Powers of the President Relating to Emergency Laws
1. In the event of the existence of special circumstances which endanger the security of the country, jeopardise law and order, sow unrest in the general peace, or in the economic stability at a time when the House of representatives is not in session or even if in session, in the view of the President, can not reach a resolution urgently, then the President shall issue emergency laws which are aimed at combating such special circumstances set out above.
The two Standing Committees shall approve the emergency laws within a period of (7) days. If the Committees decline to do so, the emergency laws shall be presented to a joint sitting of both Houses within (45) days of their rejection by the Committees; and may be passed, on a show of hands, by a simple majority.
2. Emergency laws shall have the same effect as legislation passed by the House of Representatives or the House of Elders; and shall come into force on their signature by the President.
3. Emergency laws shall be reviewed once every six months by the two Houses whose resolutions shall be passed by a simple majority vote.
Article 118: Protocol of Senior Leaders (Hab Maamuska Madaxda Sare)
1. The President and the Vice-President shall hold first positions in the protocol of the state.
2. The Speaker of the House of Elders shall hold the next position.
3. The Speaker of the House of Representatives shall hold the third position in the protocol of the state.
Article 119: The Council of Ministers
1. The Council of Ministers shall assist the present in the fulfilment of his duties and shall resolve collectively the general policies, planning and programmes of the Government.
2. Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall be appointed or dismissed by the President. Their appointment shall be presented to the House of Representatives whose quorum shall be half of their total membership plus one; and the House shall confirm or reject the appointment, on a show of hands, by a simple majority vote.
3. Within thirty (30) days of the appointment being confirmed by the House of Representatives, the Minister or Deputy Minister so appointed shall be sworn for office by the President of the Supreme Court, in the presence of the President, or in his absence from the country or illness, the Vice-President.
4. Ministers and Deputy Ministers shall not hold any occupation other than that accorded to them by the state.
5. a) No person who can not fulfil the conditions necessary for eligibility for election to the House of Representatives shall be appointed as a Minister or a Deputy Minister.
b) No member of the House of Representatives or the House of Elders shall be appointed as a Minister or a Deputy Minister.
6. A Minister may be responsible for one or more Ministries.
7. The President shall preside over the ordinary and extra-ordinary meetings of the Council of Ministers.
8. No Minister or Deputy Minister may be detained unless caught in flagranto delicto for an offence punishable by imprisonment for three years or more, or the President has removed his immunity after having been satisfied by proposals put to him by the Attorney General.
Article 120: The Assumption of Duties
1. Any Minister or Deputy Minister who resigns or is dismissed shall remain in office until such time his successor takes over the responsibilities of the office.
2. A Minster or Deputy Minister who is awaiting the handing over of the responsibilities of office to his successor shall not make any appointments or enter into any agreements in his capacity as Minister or Deputy Minister.
Article 121: Accusation against and Impeachment of the President, the Vice-President and the Ministers
1. If the President and the Vice-President are accused of following crimes:
a) High treason; or
b) Contravention of the Constitution
the charges shall be forwarded by the Attorney General to the Houses (Representatives and Elders). The two Houses shall consider jointly the charges laid before them by the Attorney General and, on a majority vote of two thirds of their total membership, shall strip him of his privileges of office after it is shown that there is a prima facie case to indicate that the President and/or Vice President may have committed the offences set out in this Article for which they should defend themselves in front of a court.
2. The charges against the President and/or the Vice-President for the offences set out in Clause 1 of this Article may also proffered by at least one third of the total members of the two Houses (Representatives and Elders); and the charges so laid shall be be forwarded to the two Chairmen. The two Chairman shall then call a joint sitting of the two Houses to debate the charges which may be passed in accordance with the provisions of Clause 1 of this Article.
3. If the Attorney General charges a Minister or a Deputy Minister with a crime set out in Clause 1 of this Article, he shall forward the details of the charges to the President. If the President is satisfied with the details provided by the Attorney General, he shall remove the privileges of the Minister or Deputy Minister. If he is not, then he shall submit it to the House of Representatives who shall decide by a simple majority whether not to approve of the charges.
4. The charges relating to the President, the Vice-President and the Ministers shall be tried by the High Court of Justice which shall consist of the Chairman of the Supreme Court, four judges of the Supreme Court and four members elected, two each, by the two House of Parliament among their members.
Article 122: ( The Judicial Branch)
1. The state shall have a judicial branch whose function is to adjudicate upon suits between the Government and the public and between the members of the public.
2. The Judicial Branch shall fulfil it duties in accordance with the Constitution; and shall be independent of the other branches of the state.
Article 123: (General Provisions)
1. The Judiciary shall have the power to:
a) Interpret the laws passed by the Constitutional bodies and emergency laws, in accordance with the Constitution.
b) Adjudicate in disputes between the governmental bodies and the public and between the members of the public.
c) Adjudicate on all disputes which relate to compliance with the provisions of the Constitution
2. A judge shall not engage in any occupation whilst in office.
3. The proper immunities of judges shall be determined by the law.
Article 124: The Structure of the Judiciary
1. The Judiciary consists of the courts and the Procuracy.
2. The judges and the prosecutors are independent when exercising their judicial functions and shall be guided only by the law.
Article 125: The Courts
The courts of the Republic of Somaliland shall consist of :
1. The Supreme Court;
2. The Appeal Courts;
3. The Regional Courts;
4. The District Courts;
5. The Courts of the National Armed Forces.
Article 126: The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is the highest organ of the Judiciary; and is also at the same time the Constitutional Court. The judges of the Court shall number no less than four; and shall be determined by law.
Article 127: The Lower Courts
The appointment and the conduct of the work of the lower courts (the Appeal, Regional and District Courts) shall be determined by law.
Article 128: The Procuracy
The Procuracy shall consist of the Attorney General and his deputies.
Article 129: The Armed Forces Courts and Procuracy
1. The Armed Forces Courts shall have jurisdiction for dealing with criminal offences committed by members of the armed forces in peace or war.
2. The Armed Forces Courts and their Procuracy shall be determined by law.
Article 130: The Appointment of the Chairman and Judges of the Supreme Court
1. The President, in consultation with the Judicial Committee and having considered the level of learning, experience, skills and good character (of the appointee), shall appoint the Chairman of the Supreme Court. The appointment of the Chairman of the Supreme Court shall be confirmed by the Houses of Parliament at a joint sitting which shall be held within three months of his appointment.
The highest ranking judge in seniority among the Supreme Court judges shall act as the Vice-Chairman of the Court.
2. No person who does not fulfil the following conditions shall be appointed as Chairman of the Supreme Court:
a) He must be a citizen of the Republic of Somaliland.
b) He must be a law graduate of a university recognised by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Somaliland.
c) He must have professional experience of not less than twenty years; and must have worked as a judge and/or a prosecutor, and/or attorney, and/or law lecturer.
3. The president can relieve the Chairman of the Supreme Court of his duties but will require the written consent of the respective Standing Committees of both the Houses of Parliament.
Article 131: The Judicial Commission
1. The Judicial Commission is the body which leads the administration of justice, and shall consist of the following:
§ The Chairman of the Supreme Court Chairman
§ The two Supreme Court judges who rank highest in seniority Member
§ The Attorney General Member
§ The Director General of the Ministry of Justice Member
§ The Chairman of the Labour Agency Member
§ Two members selected once every two years by the House of Representatives from the public, one each to be chosen from among the intellectuals and the businessmen respectively; and
§ Two members to be selected once every two years by the House of Elders from the public, one each to be chosen from among those who are well versed in the culture and in the religion respectively.
2. The quorum for the meetings of the Commission is (7) members.
3. If the Chairman of the Supreme Court is unable to fulfil the duties of chairing the Commission because of reasons of health, holidays or vacating his office, the member of the Commission who is the Supreme Court judge with the highest rank in seniority, shall act as chairman.
4. The Secretary of the Judicial Commission shall be the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court.
1. The Judicial Commission shall be responsible for the appointment, removal of office, promotion, demotion, transfer and discipline of the judges of the lower courts (the Appeal, Regional and District Courts), and the deputy prosecutors.
The other personnel who work in the judiciary shall come under the provisions of the Civil Service Law.
2. No judge or prosecutor can be detained without the consent of the Judicial Commission; but such consent will not be required if the judge or the prosecutor is caught in flagrant delicto in relation to an offence which carries a sentence of no less than three (3) years imprisonment.
3. The Attorney General shall submit to the Commission the charges for removal from office of judges and prosecutors for misconduct.
Article 133: The Relationship of the Judicial Bodies and the Ministry of Justice
1. The Ministry of Justice is responsible for fulfilling the administrative resolutions of the Judicial Commission.
2. The joint working of the Ministry and the judicial bodies shall be determined by law.
The Ulema Council
Article 134: The Responsibilities of the Council
The Ulema Council is independent and shall have the responsibility of :
1. Formulating formal declarations on:
a) Religious disagreements which may arise;
b) Any matters in which there is a conflict as to whether they are contrary to the Sharia; or appear to the Council as being contrary to the Sharia.
The Council shall forward their declarations to the office which has requested the declaration or to the Constitutional Court, as they deem fit.
2. Undertaking research of all kinds and, in particular, the promotion of scientific and religious knowledge, whilst considering it from a religious perspective.
3. Reviewing, and validating translated religious Sharia works, specially those which courts of law rely on for their rulings (prior to their acceptance as law) and those which are included in the educational syllabus and relate to religious observance and knowledge (dhaqan-aqooneeedka diiniga ah).
Article 135: The Number of the Council and Term of Office
The membership of the Ulema Council shall consist of 11 (eleven) members who shall serve a 5 year term of office. Any suitable member may be re-appointed.
Article 136: The Conditions of Membership
Each member of the Ulema Council must fulfill the following conditions:
1. He shall be a citizen and is mentally and physically able to fulfil his dutioes.
2. He shall not be aged less than 40 (forty) years.
3. He shall be someone who is known for his piety (allegiance to Allah) and good manners.
4. He shall not have been convicted of a criminal offence which was proven in a court during the preceding five years.
5. He shall have been educated in religious matters to a university level or equivalent.
6. On assumption of the responsibilities of the Council, he shall observe (ku sifoobo) neutrality in political matters and in religious views.
Article 137: Matters in which Members are not Allowed
The members of the Ulema Council shall not be:
1. Associated with a political party or special religious group;
2. hold any other national office whilst still carrying the responsibilities of the Council.
Article 138: The Appointment of the Members of the Ulema Council
1. The members of the Ulema Council shall be nominated by a committee consisting of an equal number of persons chosen respectively by the Cabinet (golaha xukuumadda) and the House of Elders; and their nomination may be confirmed by the House of Elders.
2. The Ulema Council shall elect among its members a chairman and a deputy chairman.
Article 139: Vacancies in the Membership of the Ulema Council
The membership of the Ulema Council may become vacant:
1. On resignation by a member or death.
2. On the infringement of one of the conditions of membership.
3. On the final conviction of the member of a criminal offence.
Article 140: Salaries and Remuneration
The salaries and the remuneration of the members of the Ulema Council shall be determined by law.
The Regions and the Districts
Article 141: The Structure of the Country
1. The territory of the Republic of Somaliland shall consist of regions; and each region shall be divided into districts.
2. The structure of the regions and the districts, their boundaries and hierarchy shall be determined by law.
3. Changes in the number of regions and districts and their boundaries and the reasons for the changes shall be proposed by the Cabinet and may be approved by the House of Representatives and the House of Elders.
Article 142: The Administration of the Regions and the Districts
1. The administration of the regions and the districts is part of the administration of the Government of the Republic of Somaliland.
2. The relationship of the central government and the regions and districts shall be set out in a special law.
Article143: The Regional and District Councils
1. The regions and the district of the country shall have legislative councils, whose powers are limited to passing by-laws which do not conflict with the laws of the nation, and executive councils.
2. The total membership of each regional or district council, the conditions of membership and their election procedures shall be determined by law.
3. The Chairman of the district, shall, in consultation with the prominent members of village communities, propose village administration committees, which may be approved by the legislative council of the district. (may read better, subject to approval ?)
4. The regional and district councils shall have power to plan their economic and social affairs.
5. The Chairman of the region shall be appointed by the Government and shall act as the representative of the central government in the region and the districts that come under it.
6. The Chairman of the region is the link between the central government and the districts of the region and shall come under the Ministry of Interior.
7. The term of office of the regional and district councils shall be 5 (five ) years.
8. a) A regional or district council may be dissolved before the end of its term of office.
b) The conditions which could lead to dissolution and the procedures for dissolution shall be determined by law.
9. The secretary of the region or the district and the heads of the branches or sections of the Ministries shall continue to fulfil the responsibilities in line with the previous laws until the election of a new council.
10. The regional and district councils shall have their own proper regulations (oo midaysan), and shall be assisted by the Ministry of Interior.
11. If the regional and district councils are not set up within 3 (three) months, the Government, in consultation with the members of the Houses of Representatives and Elders who represent these regions or district and also the elders in these communities, shall appoint, on a temporary basis, regional and district administrators.
Article 145: Clarification of the Powers of the Administration
1. The administration of community services, such health, education up to elementary/intermediate schooling level, livestock husbandry, internal security, water, electricity, communication etc. shall be the responsibility of the regions and districts in so far as they are able to do so.
2. The division of the powers of administration and taxation between the central government and the regions/districts shall be determined by the law setting out the relationship between the central government and the regions/districts.
3. The division of powers referred to in paragraph 2 of this Article must be such as to make it possible for the regions and districts to become self-sufficient in their provision of community services.
Article 145: The Special Governmental Bodies
The national Governmental Bodies are:
1. The Attorney General’s Office
2. The Central Bank
3. The Civil Service Agency
4. The Auditor General
Other Bodies may be created, if deemed necessary, in accordance with the law.
Article146: The Appointment of and Removal from Office of Heads of Governmental Bodies
The appointment of the Attorney General, the Governor of the Central Bank, the Chairman and the members of the Civil Service Agency and the Auditor General shall be proposed by the Chairman of the Cabinet and may be approved by the House of Representatives before he is sworn for duty.
The officials listed in this Article may be removed from office by the President only.
Article 147: The Law of Governmental Bodies
Each of the special Bodies of the Government shall have its relevant law which will set out its structure , responsibilities and the privileges of its Heads.
Article 148: The Principles of the National Armed Forces
1. The national armed forces have responsibility for protecting and defending the independence of the country and also, when needed, for undertaking duties during state of emergency in accordance with the Constitution.
2. The national armed forces shall always be obey and act in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of the country.
3. The structure (and composition) of the armed forces shall as far as possible reflect the Somaliland communities.
4. The person who is appointed as Minister of Defence shall be a civilian citizen.
5. The structure of the national armed forces shall be determined by law.
Article 149: The Police and the Corrections Forces
1. The Police Force shall have the responsibility to protect the peace and to implement the law; and its structure and duties shall be set out by law.
2. The Corrections Force shall the responsibility to guard and reform prisoners, and its structure and duties shall be set out by law.
Article 150: Government Property
The Government has the power to own movable and immovable property, to sell, purchase, rent, lease, exchange on equivalent value, or invest (ama ku sameyso hantidaas tasaruf kasta) that property in any way which is in accordance with the law
Article 151: The Implementation of the Constitution
1. This Constitution shall come into force when a referendum has been held and the outcome of the referendum is known. It shall, however, be implemented, in the interim, for a period of three years (3) beginning with the date when it is approved by the 3rd Conference of the Somaliland Communities.
2. If the referendum can not be held within the set period, the interim period in which the Constitution is implemented may be increased by the two House (the Representatives and the Elders).
3. The President and the Vice-President shall be elected by the delegates to the 3rd Conference of the Somaliland Communities, who shall also determine the procedures for the election.
4. The 3rd Conference of the Somaliland Communities shall be determine the total number of the membership of the House (Elders and Representatives) and shall appoint the members.
5. In the event that that the circumstances listed in Article 73 happen to a member of the House of Elders or the House of Representatives, the community which he represented shall fill that vacancy until such time a party system with direct elections is adopted.
6. In the event that that the circumstances listed in Article 113 happen to the President or the Vice-President or both until such time a party system with direct elections is adopted, the two House (Representatives and elders) shall jointly elect, within 45 days, among their members, the President and the Vice-President. The Speaker of the House of Elders shall fill the vacant office during the period preceding the election.
7. All the laws which were current and which did not conflict with the Islamic Sharia shall remain in force until the promulgation of laws which are in accord with the Constitution of the Republic of Somaliland.
Article 152: The Preparation of the Referendum Law and the Appointment of the Referendum Committee
So as to make possible the holding of the referendum and whilst taking note of the guidelines laid down in the Constitution, a referendum law shall be issued; and a Commission to hold the referendum shall be appointed in accordance with the Constitution.
Article 153: Amendments of or Additions to the Constitution
1. Proposals for the amendments of and/or additions to the Constitution shall be made by:
a) The President, after consulting the Cabinet.
b) 1/3 (one-third) of the total membership of the House of Representatives.
c) 1/3 (one-third) of the total membership of the House of Elders.
2. Any proposal to amend and/or add to the Constitution must be reasoned and signed.
3. Amendments and/or additions to the Constitution shall be debated by the House of Representatives and the House of elders within two months after the House of Representatives resolves by a majority of their total number that the amendment and/or the addition is necessary.
4. Any amendment of and/or addition to an Article or Articles of the Constitution shall come into force after approval by 2/3 (two-thirds) of the total membership of the House of Representatives and by 2/3 (two-thirds) of the total membership of the House of Elders voting separately.
5. If the House of Representatives does not resolve by a majority of their membership that amendment or the addition or both is not necessary; or one of the two Houses does not approve of the amendment and/or addition on a 2/3 (two-thirds) majority of its total membership, the proposal shall not be re-introduced in the following 12 (twelve) months.
6. The amendment or change of the national flag, the national seal and the national anthem shall be approved by a resolution of the House of Representatives.
Article 154: The Limits of Amendments of or Additions to the Constitution
No proposal to amend or add to the Constitution shall be made if it includes a provision which is in conflict with the:
a) Principles of Islamic Sharia.
b) Unity of the country (territorial integrity).
c) Democratic principles and multi-party system.
d) Fundamental rights and personal freedoms.
Article 155: The Basis of and the Supremacy of the Constitution
1. The Constitution shall be based on Islamic principles.
2. The Constitution shall be the supreme law of the land, and any law which does not conform to it shall be null and void.
Article 156: The Constitutional Oath
The Chairman of the Supreme Court, who is at the same time the Chairman of the Constitutional Court, shall administer this constitutional oath to any person who is obliged to take an oath under the Constitution before that person can assume his office. In the same way, he shall also take an oath to be administered by his Deputy.
“I swear by Allah that I shall be true to the Islamic religion and my Somaliland country, and shall manage my people in equity and justice so long as I hold office”
 Known in English as “Dervishes”, this phrase refers to the struggles waged by the followers of Mohammad Abdille Hassan against the British in Somaliland from 1900 - 1921.
 The Somali National Movement
 The procedures for the adoption and implementation of the Constitution are set out in Article 151. The Constitution was approved by the third Conference of the Somaliland Communities on 16 February 1997 and has been implemented from that date for a three year transitional period which will culminate in a referendum when the Constitution will be formally adopted and shall come into force (Article 151(1)).
 The flight of Muhammed (Moxammad, in Somali script) for Mecca to Medina in 620 AD, making the Islamic Calendar in, say January, 1999, xxxx 14xx.
 The Flag of the Republic of Somaliland:
 The emblem of the Republic of Somaliland.
 In the name of Allah, the compassionate and the merciful.
 The abbreviation “etc” is used to reflect the Somali abbreviation “iwm” which is in the text and is short for “iyo waxyaalaha la mid ah”, meaning, “and other similar matters”.
 The Somali phrase “Dawlad” which normally means “Government” denotes “state” in this context.
 See footnote 8 above.
 The Somali phrase describing the Government’s obligation in respect of foreign investment, “dammaanad qaad” literally means “standing surety for”. But, in the light of this article’s emphasis on private enterprise, it is respectfully submitted that ensuring the security of such investment, which may include underwriting in certain circumstances, is more likely to be the accurate reflection of this obligation. The proposed law on foreign investment should clarify this point.
 Zakat is the payment of alms by individual muslims according to formulas based on their income.
 It is not clear why this heading is in quotation marks.
 I have used the phrase the Cabinet in brackets for Golaha Xukuumadda (Literally, the Council of Government), as I think the phrase “the Government” covers adequately this phrase. There is no reference to the Cabinet or the “Golaha Xukumadda” in Chapter 3 of the Constitution which deals with the Executive Branch, and Article 104 which defines the Executive refers to it as “the Government”.
 This can be interpreted as a third of the total members of the House, as this part of the section does not refer to the members present and voting at a sitting, and the following part of the article referring to the approval of Dissolution proposal refers expressly to two thirds of the total membership.
 Sections 2 and 3 follow section 1 and relate to the loss of membership, but the drafting of this Article could have been improved if the first line of section 1 was set out separately so it applies to all three sections.
 The phrase used to describe the spouse is literally “lady wives”, but Article 106 of the Constitution does not disqualify women from being eligible for election to the office of President/Vice-President, the word “spouse” is more apt.
 The phrase used can also be translated as “commercial” which denotes a narrower range of activities.
 See Article 64 above.
 The official Somali version of this sentence is ambiguous and as the vowels of two words “waxa” and “u” suggest that the procedure is for the House to forward the charge to the Attorney General who, in the following sentence, is then obliged to put the charges to a sitting of both Houses. It suggested that if the two words were “wuxu” and “uu” , then the sentence will read that the charges will be forwarded by the Attorney General to the House; thus being in line with the following sentence which sets out what action the Houses may take.
 Articles 122 and 123 have no headings
 See the above note.
 Muslim scholars.
 Islamic jurisprudence.
 The responsibilities of the council, but within the confines of the existing law and by-laws
 In effect, the President – see article 119(7).
 The word structure does not convey the full meaning of the somali word “dhismaha” which literally means “building”, and I have therefore added “and composition” to convey the full meaning of “dhismaha”. Indeed the phrase “Qaab-dhismeedka” which appears in paragraph 5 of the Article and has the same root as “dhismo” , i.e building more accurately reflects the word structure (on its own).
 See note 19 above.
 This paragraph should be read with Article 155, which makes null and void any law which is in conflict with the Constitution.