Somalia Senator condemns Farmajo's plot for term extension
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A tussle is looming between Somalia's House of Representatives [Lower House] and the Senate, with plans to have term extension for the current administration significantly contributing to differences between the two legislative organs, just days to the upcoming dialogue in Dhusamareb.
While the Senate has been keen to have timely elections regardless of the electoral model, Lower House has been crafting a strategy to have an extension for President Farmajo's administration, arguing that the country should not afford a clan-based electoral model, adding that Somalia should prepare for one-person-one-vote elections.
Already, the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] has ruled out holding elections in time, having settled on the universal suffrage model. The earliest Somalia can go for elections, it said, is early March or late August 2021 depending on whether the universal suffrage polls will be manual or electronic.
The Lower House has since crafted a motion for term extension, arguing that Somalia should give NIEC time to hold a one-person-one-vote model. Should this model carry the day, the country will not avoid a term extension for the current administration, whose tenure expires in November this year.
But Senate Deputy Speaker Abshir Ahmed, who doubles as a serving senator, has warned against term extension for FGS, adding that such plans will be in total contravention of the country's provisional constitution, which spells out the duration for each constitutional body in Somalia.
"Proposals of term extension by some lawmakers can be equated to the old man’s wish to live again (Inaan joogo jeclaayaa) when death beckons. Articles 60&91 pin the term of the Federal Government. Parliament and Presidency to four years. Any such move is legally offside, null and void per Constitution," he said.
Should the proposal pass through the Lower House, Abshir said, Senate will have no option but to invalidate it. He insisted that all the chambers have a constitutional mandate towards the passing of such legislation, adding that no house can make "unilateral" decisions on such matters.
"Secondly, should such a proposal pass through the HoP, the Upper House on behalf of FMS will invalidate it," he said. "It follows therefore that no single chamber of the House can make any unilateral decision and that no state organ can override the supremacy of the Constitution."
His remarks come amid claims that Farmajo is keen to have a term extension by accommodating a Grand National Unity [GNU] government, which would see him bringing the opposition on board. The country's leadership will meet in Dhusamareb on August 15 to agree on the proper electoral model for upcoming elections.
But on Sunday, Farmajo is said to have met three friendly FMS leaders at Villa Somalia where they discussed the possibility of pushing for term extension. They included Mohamed Abdi Waare of HirShabelle, Ahmed Abdi Kariye of Galmadug, and the Southwest leader Lafta-Gareen.
Later on, the three leaders also met Qatar envoy to Somalia Hassan bin Hamsa, who is believed to be lobbying for Farmajo's term extension. The envoy is said to have organized a meeting between former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and Qatar government where he was asked to step down and pave way for an appointment of an opposition figure to pave way for GNU.
However, sources told Garowe Online, the former PM rejected the offer. But shortly after his visit to Dhusamareb, the regional administrative capital of Galmadug for dialogue with FMS, the PM was hounded from office by MPs, who among other things, accused him of failing to organize for a timely one-person-one-vote election.