Somalia’s Parliament: Honorable Members or Horrible Members?

Abiy, the would-be Authoritarian in Ethiopia

Somalia is one of pioneers of democracy in Africa as it applied snippet-democracy between 1960-1969. Regrettably, the blossoming democracy was obliterated and depleted by the coup d’état led by the military army.

From 1969-91, Somalia was under dictatorship rule which tended iron fist. The dictatorship rule suspended the constitution, dispersed the parliament, arrested the high-officials and imposed draconian rules and regulations.

Though, the system delivered enormous services and built the infrastructure and ameliorated the military capability, but there was no freedom of speech, civil society and dissent voices. After 21 years of military rule, in 1991, plenty of armed to the teeth overthrew the government, and since then, the country has undertaken bitter civil war.

As a result, Somalia lost its statehood and also lost its relevant member of the international community for couple of years. And then, Somalia became lost and waste country, and her name has become synonymous with death, disease, disaster and destitution.  

Since 2011, Somalia was getting better politically, economically and also security. Apart from that, Somalia has vibrant private sector which contributes the economy of the country, and the Somalia people have business acumen.

So, when the civil war erupted in 1991, colossal of Somali people evacuated the country, and went the neighboring countries, Europe and North-America. As a result, they started sending moneys for their families. Though, Somalia encounters brain drain, but Somali Diaspora contributed boosting the economy of the country. Since 2011, Somali diaspora were returning back home and joining easily the political arena. 

 

Mogadishu’ status: If you can’t convince, confuse them!

The status of Mogadishu is mentioned clearly in the current provisional constitution, especially Article, 9 “the status of the capital city of Somalia shall be determined in constitutional review process, and the two houses of the Somali federal parliament shall enact a special law with regards to this issue”.

Though, the constitution is indicated understandably, but there is political disagreement among the Somali politicians, especially the federal parliament. Since 2012, when the current provisional constitution was adopted until now, the federal government is shambling and reluctant to vouchsafe Mogadishu’s especial status by following Article 9 in the constitution.

Former president of Somalia his Excellency Hassan Sheikh ignored to solve the case of Mogadishu status during his term, while now he is advocating Mogadishu’s status as a political gimmick to vanquish the incumbent government. The current government was shambling at the beginning the case of Mogadishu’s status, but now is expediting this process in an obnoxious way. Because, for the last two weeks, the federal parliament of Somalia, especially House of the People (HOP) was busy on how to allocate Mogadishu her status.

But, the ridiculous and the ludicrous was, the federal parliament despised and undermined the constitution, rather they are going to endorse a (Resolution) which its debate is going on currently in the parliament, and will be voted somewhere in the upcoming week. Some news is saying, the allocated members of Mogadishu in the Upper-House will be 13 seats. if we say that, we need to answer these questions meticulously: –

  1. How the 13 members will be distributed? Because, Mogadishu is the capital city of Somalia, and all the Somali tribes live in. But, always one clan is tended greedy and wants to collect all the seats.
  2. The Upper-House represents the Federal Member States (FMS), and as we know, Mogadishu is not a regional state. So, how can be justified Mogadishu’s seats in the Upper-House?
  3. As we know, the constitution is the highest law in the country. The federal parliament wittingly and stubbornly violated the constitution, and preferred illegal resolution. So, this temerity and hell-bent that, the parliament has taken will have deplorable repercussions. So, who will be responsible this naked, brute and ingratitude fiasco that, the parliament tends?

The flipside, some political commentators believe that, if the government allows this right to Mogadishu, then a new problem will erupt. Because, Mogadishu, as the capital city of the country, is the only place that, the federal government controls fully, and receives the tax.

Also, the Airport and the Seaport of Mogadishu, are the main source of income in the country. So, if Mogadishu gets a new status with its new independent administration, then the leader of Mogadishu will control the Airport and the Seaport of Mogadishu, and the federal government becomes lame-duck. In this regard, the federal government persists ignoring Mogadishu’s status for the sake of antidote. And this sticky issue, also will have an impact on the seats allocated to Mogadishu’s status.

 

Giving illegal rights to the women in the parliament is against democracy!

Somalia, is one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to the females in the parliament. The current women’s quota in the parliament in Somalia is 24%.  Not only in the parliament, but also women engage all the three branches of the government and the independent commissions. Regrettably, the federal parliament, especially the House of the People (HOP) endorsed this week a peculiar resolution which gives the women in the parliament a competitive advantage.

The resolution says, all the female seats in the parliament currently will be reserved only females for the upcoming election, while additionally they can contest the other seats with the gentlemen. When I heard this news, I became dumfounded! Because, this is against the democracy, the current constitution, and also the rationale. And I realized, the current members of the parliament are reckless about the future of the country. Because, this astray wreaks havoc and convolution.

Anwar Abdifatah Bashir (Freelance Journalist, Independent Researcher and Horn of Africa Geopolitics Analyst). The Author is currently undertaking his Fourth Post-graduate study in KOREA at Korea Development Institute (KDI) Master of Global Governance and Political Economy.   Email: anwarcade100@gmail.com