Somalia: Senate House closed for ‘security reasons’
MOGADISHU, Somalia – The Headquarters of Somalia’s Upper House Chamber of Federal Parliament in Mogadishu was reported to have been closed for security reasons, Garowe Online reports.
Sources revealed to GO that the move came after the Senators voted to discontinue sitting of the third session due to the current situation in the capital which is beset by series of car bombings and attacks.
The Senate went shut after early request seeking the deployment of African Union soldiers to the House building located in Mogadishu’s Shibis district had been unsuccessful, according to the sources.
The Government was accused of dragging its feet to provide AMISOM protection to the Senate, which is seen as the symbol of the Federal system and representing the regional states in the country.
“The leadership of the Senate asked AMISOM to secure the compound, but, the government fell short to give a go-ahead to the AU force,” said a Senator who sought anonymity.
Addressing the press in Mogadishu this week, the commander-in-chief of Uganda Contingent AMISOM Sector 1, Brig. Gen. Paul Lokech said the AU mission is down-sizing forces in the Horn of Africa Country.
Lokech added that Somali National Army [SNA] is not currently ready to take security responsibility from AMISOM, warning that it could have a consequential negative impact on efforts to stabilise the nation.
Garowe Online has learned that the Federal Government of Somalia has failed to settle on the budget of the 54-member Senate, especially the amount of the monthly stipends for each Senator.
The Senate, or Upper house, was elected during Somali parliamentary election held in 2016.
“Executive branch, particularly the Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire is dragging his feet on the Senate’s demands and he threw out a request to appear before the House when invited,” said the Senator.
“The government believes that the Lower House of the parliament is more important politically and effectively that the Senate since it has the power to file a motion against the PM,” he added.
The Lower House Chamber of the Somali Federal Parliament has on April 30 elected Mohamed Mursal, former defence minister as its new speaker weeks after the resignation of Mohamed Osman Jawari.
The Upper House said the government is reluctant to include six new members representing the Federal Member States in the Provisional Constitution Review and Implementation Commission.
The commission is made up of members from the two houses of the Somali parliament, Independent Constitutional Review and the five Federal Member States in the country and Benadir regional administration.
The closure of the Senate House for security reasons is likely to exacerbate the already strained relations between Mogadishu-based Government and the Federal Member States in Somalia.