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Extension of TFP Term heralds catastrophe for Somalia | Uluso

February 16, 2011 –

It’s interesting to witness the intense vilification of the International Community (IC) by Ethiopia and Members of the Djibouti Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP-D) after the IC objected the three-year- extension of TFP-D’s tenure from August 22, 2011. Ethiopia and Djibouti (IGAD) encouraged and defended the self-serving TFP’s decision. MP Hassan Abshir (former PM) said that the Parliament decided to extend its mandate after it became aware of the fact that the IC planned to organize a Somali conference outside Somalia for the selection of new MPs. Therefore, the rationale behind Parliament’s decision was to hold on power and thwart efforts to reform Djibouti Transitional Federal Government (TFG-D).

In particular, the MPs have threatened Dr. Augustine P. Mahiga, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), with formal protest and persona non grata edict. They have reminded the Somali public that the yearly salary bill of the IC staff assigned to Somalia but stationed in Nairobi, Kenya was 112 million dollars, while the Somalis are dying of hunger and thirst. Furthermore, they have publicized that millions of dollars collected on behalf of the starving Somali people have been squandered in Nairobi, Kenya without relief to the intended beneficiaries. TFP-D and Ethiopia like Al Shabab rejected foreign interference in Somalia and became defenders of Somali sovereignty and dignity. It’s unholy alliance. Ethiopia applauded the “independent thinking of TFP” from the Nairobi based International Community.

TFG-D lobbied for indefinite extension but IGAD granted extension only to TFP-D and left the handling of the remaining political dispensation to the Somali people. In this circumstance, TFP-D led by Speaker Sharif Hassan is the horse Ethiopia rides on for its hegemonic policy over Somalia. The return of Somali speaking Ethiopian diplomat to Mogadishu expedites the execution of that policy.

It’s absolutely foolish and waste of time, desire and energy to argue on constitutionality, rationality and political legitimacy against TFG’s unlawful and irresponsible performance and behavior. Nevertheless, the unconstitutionality and fraudulence of the term extension is irrefutable and the Speaker’s handling of the process is lesson for the corrupt leadership style imposed on Somalia.

The TFP Speaker, who received a green light for term extension from Addis Ababa before IGAD’s meeting, made a deal with about 100 MPs hanging around in Nairobi, Kenya in order to secure a super majority of 550 MPs (75%).  During the last 2 years, little more or less than 300 MPs attended Parliamentary sessions. Different sources indicated that the 100 MPs were bribed to go to Mogadishu. This shameful system of governance plagued Somalia.

Two days after IGAD’s public declaration, the Parliament approved three year term extension easily with 97 % yes (435 present). Unfortunately, there is no official public record of parliament’s approved text. Speaking on behalf of Somalia, Ethiopia has said that there will be an election of President, Speaker, two deputies, and the appointment of new Prime Minister. The President and the Prime Minister are in favor of term extension.

In an interview with the VOA, TFP’s Speaker made few derisive remarks. He said that the MPs agreed not to make another extension after the 3 years as they have permanent legitimacy to extend their mandate. Erroneously he argued that the President, the Council of Ministers and the public cannot oppose TFP-D’s decision since TFG-D is based on parliamentary system. The same argument was made by Ethiopia. However, the Charter allows Somali citizens to petition to the Supreme Court against parliamentary law for unconstitutionality. A group of Somalis can submit a petition to the Supreme Court against the extension.

Another excuse for the extension was that the end of TFG-D term will create political vacuum. It is senseless if the TFG-D leaders can’t yet see the real political vacuum and fragmentation the country suffers. The power for the selection of new MPs is invested in the sub clans through their genuine traditional leaders until free and fair election is practicable throughout the country. Therefore, community leaders (intellectuals, politicians, women, religious leaders) have the responsibility to select new MPs for new Parliament that will replace the incompetent one. False representation is harmful and unacceptable.

The Speaker, who enjoys the chaos system of governance, failed to recognize that the extension of parliament tenure was a political issue, which requires political process among stakeholders before parliament acts on it. The Parliament as a whole failed to understand and respect the core vision and message of the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC). Stakeholders of TFG-D are clans, Mbagathi Groups, factions like ARS (Diaspora and Islamists), TFG-Kenya, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama, Hizbul Islam, Regional Administrations, and Civil Society.

While the extension issue is precluded in the Charter, there are constitutional concepts or principles included in the Charter that limit the amendment of certain provisions of the Charter. The Speaker and the Parliament ignored the substance and spirit of TFC’s provisions outlined in the preamble, in article 1:1 on sovereignty of the people, in article 4 on the interpretation of the Charter, in article 30 on the selection of MPs, in article 32 (4) which explicitly forbids the extension of parliamentary tenure, and in article 33 (i) on legislative functions and processes before a law is passed. The parliament is not free to amend constitutional articles concerning itself. More importantly, before extension, there should a national dialogue after 7 years of total failure.

The parliament has purposefully avoided fulfilling its Constitutional Transitional Tasks before the end of its term. Therefore an extension is a reward for failure, political deception or abdication of duty. An acceptance of TFP-D term extension heralds catastrophe for Somalia and will undermine IC credibility.  End of TFG-D is the first step for national reconciliation and peace as the push out of Hosni Mubarak and his government was key to Egypt’s stability and political reform. Trained Military, Police and civil servants will continue their job under different arrangement.

Mr. Mohamud M. Uluso


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