Somalia is at risk of facing political turmoil after PM’s ouster
GAROWE, Puntland - President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is under immense pressure following the unprecedented sacking of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, which came at the time Somalia is facing political uncertainty, following differences over the model to be used in the upcoming elections.
The Lower House kicked out Khaire, who was one of those involved in the mediation process at Dhusamareb, claiming that he had failed to prepare the country for one-person-one-vote elections. The model, which would subject the country to term extension for the current administration, had been widely approved by Villa Somalia much to the opposition by Khaire.
But Senators Abdirahman Mohamed Farole and Abdirizak Osman Jurile, who are some of many respected politicians in the country, have waded into the debate, arguing that PM Khaire's removal was unprocedural and violated Somalia's provisional constitution, which was enacted in 2012.
"The removal was in clear violation of the constitution and internal procedures of the House and the timing of Farmajo's acceptance raises eyebrows," they said, adding that MPs failed to table a substantive motion for removal, which would have allowed him to defend himself.
The two also insisted that Khaire's removal could sabotage the Dhusamareb Phase II conference talks which are scheduled for August 15, where Khaire was a key player. In fact, the former PM was hounded from the office while on an official trip to Dhusamareb last month for the talks.
According to the two leaders, failure by the country's leadership to reach an amicable solution would erode substantive gains Somalia has made over the years through the close supervision of Khaire. The former PM is credited for helping the country get debt relief from international lenders such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
"The dismissal creates uncertainty on how to proceed with reconciliation kick-started in Dhusamareb between FGS and FMS. Failure to achieve timely elections threatens to devour the strenuous efforts to restore peace in Somalia," they added in a tough-worded statement on Wednesday.
Somalia, they added, risks plunging into chaos like those witnessed in the 90s after the ouster of dictator Siad Barre. The country's political leadership failed to reach an agreement over internal issues, leading to a serious war that left thousands dead and millions homeless according to the United Nations.
During that time, many national institutions collapsed leading to the post-economic downturn in Somalia, which had not been witnessed before. Since then, Somalia has struggled to regain her lost glory, which the two senators now claim that it would be a "bad dream" due to the current political impasse.
They accused the Lower House of also violating the constitution by flouting by-laws following the decision to add more seats in the Senate. The Lower House has been approving the controversial electoral law without involving other stakeholders, they added.
"The Lower House has violated the constitution by blatantly disrespecting their own by-laws. They've created additional seats in Senate against the rule of law," read the four-page statement. Farole served as Puntland President before being elected to Senate in 2017.
The government as constituted, they argued, cannot make any sound resolutions because a substantive Prime Minister is yet to be formed. President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo had appointed Mahdi Mohamed Gulaid as acting Prime Minister and is yet to announce his preferred candidate for the post.
"The caretaker role is no longer valid and the government cannot talk or make decisions and state institutions without a legitimate caretaker Prime Minister," they said in reference to appointing five people to the Judicial Service Commission, which was made by the interim government under Mahdi.
The senior legislators have warned that "If Somalia follows this course of prolonged deadlock and Dhusamareb talks do not solve the crisis, the country risks plunging into political chaos". They also want the current electoral model commonly known as 4.5 to be scrapped off on grounds that it's unconstitutional.
Farmajo's administration is set to exit in November to pave way for elections but there are claims that he's keen to have his term extended having lobbied for the move by moving three regional leaders. The statement was copied to all regional leaders, parliament speakers, Villa Somalia, and the United Nations.