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Augustine Mahiga, speaks about the end of Somalia's transitional governing arrangements
17 Aug 2012 -  The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia, Augustine Mahiga (13 August) said the end of Somalia's period of transitional government due next Monday will be a "watershed" on the way to greater democracy in the country.

After decades of warfare, Somalia has been undergoing a peace and national reconciliation process, with the country's transitional federal institutions currently implementing the so-called Roadmap for the End of Transition in Somalia that spells out priority measures to be carried out before the country's transitional governing arrangements end on 20 August.

In an interview, Mahiga said 20 August will be a "the watershed between transition and transformation" as it will usher in "stabilization of the country, new leadership, new plan, new ideology, new institutions, and a direction towards greater democracy in Somalia."

A provisional constitution was overwhelmingly approved last week by the representative body convened for that purpose. It will provide a legal framework governing the workings of the new Somali Federal Institutions after 20 August.

Mahiga said this would have an impact on the lives of ordinary Somalis "because it is taking place at a time when the whole country is almost liberated from the insurgents and this gives an opportunity for the country to open up, it gives more freedom for the people to move and enlarges the opportunities for people to engage in the reconstruction of social and economic activities."

Areas such as the Afgooye corridor, known as a breadbasket of the country, were recently liberated from the insurgents. Al-Shabaab's extortion of farmers was a major factor in the 2011 famine in which up to 100,000 people starved to death.

The Special Representative said comparing where Somalia was a year ago and where it is now, "it's been a quantum leap in politics, in the process and in the peace that Somalia is enjoying".

As the militant group Al-Shabaab retreats, in regions such as Badoia, locals have started to gain access to much needed aid, health care and refuge.