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Political crisis are part of democratic system of governance but it can be avoided or properly managed by good quality leadership that adheres to the rule of law, good policy, and to a well-defined, transparent procedures, and practices in order to have a trust worthy government. The handling of impeachment motion against President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is a major challenge to the leadership quality of parliament Speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari who must ensure the practice of differentiating political arguments from constitutional and legal arguments. The frivolous claims of constitutionality and unconstitutionality of an argument by everyone in the media must be challenged and corrected through rulings, opinions, and decisions of legitimate institutions and processes.
The Speaker’s principal responsibility is to make parliament’s activities consistent with pre-agreed norms, procedures, and practices founded on legal, administrative, and common sense principles with the aim of improving public confidence in Parliament and whole government. Stalled process of impeachment motion fans social conflict, speculations, and erodes nation building and state building efforts and hopes.
Article 61 § 1 of the provisional constitution establishes the political, legal, and moral responsibility of members of parliament who in fulfilling their duties should be guided by the best interests of the nation as whole. This reflects the quote of Edmund Burke:
“Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests; which interests each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member of Bristol, but he is a member of parliament.”
The impeachment motion submitted under articles 69 § 2 (b and f),92,138 § (2), 109 C § (f), and 139 of the Provisional Constitution on August 12, 2015 is still pending with the Speaker. In compliance with article 92 § 3, the Speaker has the solemn responsibility of submitting the impeachment motion to the Supreme Court for legal probe before parliamentary debate.
The 9 page impeachment motion against President Hassan Sh. Mohamud lists specific allegations of breach of the constitution and rule of law to be supported by evidences presentable to the Supreme Court. The allegations include the issuance of unconstitutional decree used for the killing of Somali Citizens, gross human rights violations like extra judicial execution, illegal detention, forced displacement of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) for private interests, usurpation of the executive authority by establishing a super structure Policy Unit in the Office of the President over the Council of Ministers, engagement in massive documentable corruption, writing of illegal letters to foreign financial institution for transfer of financial assets, the killing of members of parliament, interference in independent commissions and judiciary institutions, and lack of salary payment to security forces and government personnel for illegal reasons. These allegations are serious and must be proven at trial.
Unusual powerful opponent of the parliamentary impeachment motion is Ambassador Nicholas Kay, head of UN Mission for Somalia (UNSOM) who is engaged in open international and local campaign to quash the motion without remedy to the crimes cited in the motion. In few months ago, the International Community accepted the no confidence motion against former Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed.
Purposely, the impeachment and no confidence motions are established to restore public trust in government leaders, respect of the rule of the law, and political honesty after scandals, incompetence, inefficiency, and abuse of powers tarnished the President and the Council of Ministers respectively. The misuse of motions must be prevented on legal grounds. The convention is that governments will continue to remain in place whatever the outcome of motions is.
The only question that merits clarification with respect to the impeachment motion is the absence of Constitutional Court mandated to provide legal opinion before parliamentary debate. But there are many examples on how to overcome such an institutional deficiency or encumbrance. As per article 109B, only five judges render Judicial Judgment. The Supreme Court Judges added with additional four judges could render judgment on the legality of the allegations cited in the Impeachment motion.
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