Monday, September 28, 2020
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An Open Letter: The Turmoil in Somalia

By Senator Abdirahman Mohamed (Farole) &
Senator Abdirizaq Osman (Jurile)
Upper House, Somali Federal Parliament

H.E, Mohamed Abdullahi  Formajo , President of Federal Republic of Somalia.
H. E. Hasan Ali Kheire , Former  Prime Minister of Federal Government
Hon. Abdi Hashi Abdullahi , Speaker of the Upper House of the FPS
Hon. Mohamed Mursal Sh. Abdirahman , Speaker of People’s  Assembly of  FPS
H.E. Said Abdullahi Deni, President of Puntland State of Somalia.
H.E. Ahmed Mohamed Islam, President of Jubbaland State of Somalia.
H.E. Abdiaziz Hasan Laftagaren, President of Southwest State of Somalia.
H.E. Ahmed Abdi Kariye, President of Galmudug State of Somalia.
H.E. Mohamed Abdi Ware, President of Hirshabelle State of Somalia
H.E. Ambassador James Swan, the SRSG/ UNSOM for Somalia

Your Excellences,

Somalia is at risk of facing political turmoil after the Speaker and First Deputy Speaker of the People’s Assembly (Lower House) of Federal Parliament, in connivance with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, unlawfully dismissed Somali Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and his Government on 25th July, 2020. This parliamentary vote, conducted turbulently and without a preliminary motion and the right of the PM to defend himself,  was in clear violation of the internal rules and procedures of the People’s Assembly, and the timing of President Farmajo’s prompt acceptance raises also valid concerns.

Sen Faroole (left) and Sen. Jurile

The dismissal has created big uncertainty on how to proceed further on the agreed upon reconciliation, reached in Dhusamareb Conference, to end the long standing stalemate between the Federal Government and Federal Member States (FMS), in order to reach a viable agreement on a timely election modality in Somalia for 2020/2021. Failure to achieve timely elections threatens to devour the strenuous efforts and progress made in the last thirty years to bring Somalia where it is now.

In this regard, it is worth to make a brief account of the post collapse events. We all recall how the drastic collapse of the Somali national institutions happened when the military regime of Mohamed Siyad Barre was ousted in 1991 and the country plunged into a large scale chaos and bloodshed fomented by warlords and their armed militias.

In addition to the protracted bloodshed, this chaos was also characterized by distraction and looting of public and private properties, which resulted in a mass uprooting of entire population from Mogadishu and other southern regions, merely targeting particular communities. The uprooted population either became internally displaced in other relatively safer regions within Somalia or as exodus they crossed the boundaries to the neighboring countries and beyond, mostly to the West and Yemen.

At the onset of the violence in Mogadishu in 1991, a number of former Somali statesmen attended the first Somali Peace Conference, held in Djibouti in 15-21 July 1991, namely, first President Aden Abdulle Osman; former Speaker Sheikh Mukhtar Mohamed; together with two former Prime Ministers Abdirizak Haji Hussein and Mohamed Ibrahim Egal. The conference was also attended by prominent former government officers, intellectuals, and warring faction representatives, who took very challenging initiative, with their own risk, to explore, in vain, every possible way to restore law and order in Somalia by establishing a transitional administration in Mogadishu.

The initiative did not succeed, but rather the violence increased enormously, reaching its peak in late 1992, particularly in the southern regions, with the death toll of 500,000 people, as estimated by the Red Cross. Somali people are grateful to US-led humanitarian aid mission “Operation Restore Hope” which saved many families from starvation. Later on, many other attempts done to restore law and order and reinstate the lost Somali nation state institutions in Mogadishu, had also failed to produce any viable outcome.

Not wishing to face similar events of lawlessness and instability in the north, an embryonic administration in the periphery was established and named Puntland State. The decision was made in February 1998 and the due process started soon until a state administration with its Provisional Draft Charter with the three branches of the division of power; the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary, were established on 1st August, 1998, as a state within a future federal system of Somalia.

In fact, the Puntland state administration has become the embryonic state, acting as champion for the whole system of Somalia, as of today. Indeed, it constituted the milestone for the reinstitution of the Somali nation state, under the federal system of government.

However, if that was not enough, in concomitance with the presence of the warlord fiefdoms in the south-central regions, the country experienced the advent of foreign linked and financed movements of radical religious extremists and terrorist groups, who mostly took advantage from the grievances of the harassed local communities in the southern regions, whose land were also misappropriated by warlord’s militias.

Even though, these extremists and terrorists are now spilling more bloodshed than the warlords, yet we can say that we managed through winding roads to restore many national and regional institutions, as of today, thanks to the concerted efforts of the Somali peace loving politicians and the incessant support of the international community at large.

Your Excellences,

Somalia cannot afford to throw into the dustbin the hard-earned institution building and succumb to the politically devastating activities of a very few spoiler elements.

The Lower House has violated the constitution and its parliamentary bylaws, including how the Lower House passed a draft law, to increase seats of the Upper House, which is an unconstitutional violation of the Upper House structure, based on 18 regions with a maximum of 54 seats, as per Article 72 of the PFC.

The Federal Government’s current actions are not legal. The Prime Minister was dismissed and deprived his constitutional rights to lead the Cabinet as a caretaker Prime Minister, until the president appoints another PM, as per Article 103.

The caretaker role is no longer valid and the government cannot talk or make any decision about state institutions, in the absence of the legitimate caretaker Prime Minister.  Therefore, the Cabinet’s proposition of the Judicial Service Commission is unlawful, as per Article 109A, paragraph 2F.

Furthermore, Somalia does not have a Constitutional Court, whose  Chief Judge would be a member of  the Judicial Service Commission; similarly  there is no a National Human Rights Commission whose Chairperson would be a member of the Judicial Service Commission.

If Somalia follows this present course of prolonged deadlock, and the Dhusamareb process is does not  produce political agreement on all the outstanding crucial issues, the countrymaytake the risk of returning to political turmoil and reversal of progress we have so far made.

Timelyelection is not the only issue that is critical; but also the basis of unconstitutional politicalmisrepresentation of the Peoples’ Assembly seats on the 4.5 clan formula that must be removed and scrapped permanently. This originally came as an ad hoc gentlemen’s agreement, made in Arte in 2000 (Djibouti). It was dragged on and on for 20 years, despite its unconstitutionality and not grounding on any democratic or demographic criteria.

In 2016 a quasi-referendum popular rejection of 4.5 deadlocks occurred in Puntland, which ultimately led to a very unpopular agreement on 3rd April 2016 between Federal Government of Somalia andPuntland State of Somalia. However, it is worth to remember that even though the April 2016 agreement between the FGS and Puntland was unpopular and imposed, it was witnessed and guaranteed by the international community representatives, toclose the chapter of 4.5 formula from that year onwards. The agreement of 4.5 formula was aconditioned on to the 2016 election only.

 Another very important crucial issue that needs to be addressed is the violation of the due process required in Reviewing the Provisional Federal Constitution PFC. Chapter 15, Article 134 paragraph one (1) of  the PFC establishes two commissions; the Review and Implementation Commission, and the Oversight Commission; while paragraph two (2) establishes the composition of the Review and Implementation Commission, which would be 10 commissioners;   Five (5) commissioner to be nominated by the FGS and the other five (5) – one (1)  for each state to be nominated by the  5 existing Federal Member States (FMS). But as none of the five (5) commissioners from FMS were part of the reviewing commission, it raises question of the processes’ legality and therefore, it should not be presented as a Draft Law to the People’s Assembly for discussion.

Senator Abdirahman Mohamed – Farole,
Senator Abdirizaq Osman – Jurile
Upper House, Somali Federal Parliament

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