Somali President Farmajo likely to survive impeachment

Saturday December 15 2018

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo. The president is likely to survive an impeachment motion. PHOTO | AFP 

By FRED OLUOCH
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Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” is likely to survive an impeachment motion, but he is not sitting pretty as he approaches the end of two years in power.

Besides uneasy relations with some leaders of regional states that suspended co-operation with the Central State in September, President Farmajo is accused of seeking to create a strong central government, contrary to the 2012 Provisional Constitution that provides for federalism.

The central government has tried to influence the South West State presidential elections set for December 19.

Mogadishu is opposed to the candidature of Mukhtar Robow, a former leader of Al Shabaab.

Mr Robow was arrested on Thursday by Ethiopian forces in Baidoa, in South West state.

The impeachment motion has divided the country, leading to pro-Farmajo demonstrations in Mogadishu on December 10, and anti-Farmajo demonstrations on Thursday and Friday in Baidoa, where it was reported that 11 people had been killed in clashes.

So far 78 MPs have signed the motion, while at least 92 MPs out of the 275 members are required to ask the Speaker to consider the motion.

Parliamentary Secretary Abdulkarim Buh said the motion could not be considered because 14 of the signatures were forgeries.

Unclear rules

President Farmajo could also benefit from lack of clear constitutional rules for impeachment.

The sponsors of the impeachment motion say they were concerned about an announcement in June, during Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s visit to Mogadishu, that Addis Ababa was developing four ports in Somalia.

Abdullahi Abdi Mohamed, the chairman of the Aratgi Wadaag Political Think Tank, said that some regional state leaders and an alliance of the opposition were behind the impeachment motion, but they would not succeed because the number of signatures required was too high.

For the motion to pass, it requires two-thirds of both the Lower House and the Senate.

According to Article 92 (2) of the Provisional Constitution, the motion should be submitted to the Constitutional Court that will then determine the validity of the reasons for impeachment.

A similar impeachment motion against former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud could not proceed due to unclear impeachment rules.

President Farmajo is accused of signing security and economic agreements with Eritrea and Ethiopia without consulting parliament or the Cabinet; bypassing parliament and Cabinet in the appointment of judges and army commanders; interference with federal member states and elections in Puntland and South West State; and his decision to rendition to Ethiopia the former leader of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, Abdikarim Muse, without following extradition procedures.

The sponsors of the motion have the difficult task of mustering 219 MPs out of the total 275 to vote to impeach the president.

Speaker of parliament Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman — who hails from South West State — is seen as a supporter of the motion.

Mr Abdirahman has been at loggerheads with President Farmajo over what he says is undue interference in the South West presidential elections by the centre.

Still, President Farmajo has performed better than any president since the collapse of the Somalia state in 1991.

He has initiated a war against corruption by demanding accountability from his ministers.

In addition, civil servants are now being paid their salaries on time and he has significant goodwill among donors.

However, he is yet to capture new territories from Al Shabaab despite launching the National Security Architecture supported by international donors.

President Farmajo now finds himself in a political crisis as has been the trend with Somali presidents since 2000, because of high expectations of incoming governments.

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