Somalia swears in MPs and senators
Thursday April 14 2022
Somalia began swearing in new legislators on Thursday in a ceremony taking place at the ‘large tent, a huge lounge within the perimeter of Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport, signalling an important step towards creating a new government.
Over 90 percent of legislators of the People’s House (Lower House of the parliament whose maximum number is 275 MPs) and members of the Upper House (also known as The Senate which has 54 seats) are bound to take oath to serve the nation.
The Secretary-General of the People’s House, Abdikarim Buh, announced Wednesday night that the schedule to hold the swearing in ceremony was being maintained.
A large number of newcomers and well as re-elected members gathered at General Kahiye Police Academy where assembled buses took them inside the airport perimeter.
As the MPs and the Senators were getting ready for the oath, Khalif Omar, Somalia’s Minister of Commerce who has been in re-elected in Hirshabelle State in Central Somalia, expressed his hope that the 11th parliament will be a more energetic one.
“This is a historic day,” said Buh who is expected to announce the number of legislators and senators sworn in at the end of the ceremony.
Somalia’s complex indirect electoral system is yet to elect about 20 MPs from Jubbaland and Hirshabelle states.
Ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, the Federal Electoral Implementation Team (FEIT), the top organ assigned to manage the election, decided to release two of the four seats earlier withheld for not being elected through fair procedures.
The new development emerged after a FEIT delegation led by Chairman Muse Guelle arrived in Baidoa town, the interim capital of the South West State.
The trip was meant for FEIT officials to hold talks with the state’s leadership, clan elders and civil society figures in order to sort out grievance over 3 of the 4 seats removed from the list of the elected MPs to be sworn in.
Following intensive overnight meetings in Baidoa, the FEIT delegation and elected legislators that hail from the South West agreed that the re-election of the questioned third seat can be repeated at a convenient time.
The mutual understanding between FEIT and the South West led to senators and legislators to call off their boycott of the ceremony.
On Thursday, the senators and MPs that had opted to boycott the remaining electoral process, travelled to Mogadishu and went straight to the ‘big tent’ to receive both the certificates and Identification Cards (IDs).
However, it seemed that when FEIT solves one problem, another emerges.
Hirshabelle State, an authority in Central Somalia, issued a statement strongly demanding FEIT to release the seat labelled as HOP#086 that was won by Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir, the former director of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) and current security advisor to President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.
The statement to FEIT was titled, ‘Release Seat number HOP#086 without condition,’ further stating that the mentioned seat was won fairly and freely and in accordance with the September 17, 2020 electoral agreement.
“The voting for seat number HOP#086 was held in the presence of the State Electoral Implementation Team (SEIT), the FEIT and the Electoral Dispute Resolution Committee,” Hirshabelle said, adding that there were no complaints from the seat’s clan elders, related civil society actors and other candidates vying for the seat.
The Hirshabelle State warned against what it termed “the sinister acts by FEIT to undermine the completion of the election.”
Later on Thursday, the Vice-President of Hirshabelle Yusuf Ahmed Hagar aka Dabageed, criticised the Office of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and the FEIT for withholding the seat HOP#086.
“What is fishy about seat HOP#086 that was fairly elected in Beledweyne town in Hirshabelle State?” questioned Vice-President Hagar.
Although the swearing in of the legislators began Thursday in Mogadishu, it is envisaged to last for some time until all the vacant seats are filled.
So far, according to FEIT, 251 newly elected MPs have received or are entitled to receive their credentials and to be sworn in. 24 seats are still vacant.
Once the remaining electoral processes are cleared, each house will elect a speaker and deputies.
After that, a joint session will be held to elect a federal president. The date is yet to be announced.