Somalia: Parliament proposes controversial term extension

Mogadishu (Caasimada Online) – The Federal Parliament of Somalia is currently embroiled in a highly contentious proposal to extend the terms of both parliament and the country’s president.

The proposal has sparked intense debate among concerned Somalis, who fear such a move could undermine the country’s fragile democratic institutions.

The proposal to amend the constitution comes after nearly 100 MPs in the Lower House, and 15 senators in the Upper House submitted the proposal to their councils last month.

The primary objective of the proposal is to extend the period of office of members of parliament and the president by one year.

Committees to consider constitutional amendment

The proposal involves the creation of two special committees, each comprising ten members, with the task of preparing a report proposing an amendment to the constitution to facilitate the extension of the terms of office.

The reports will then be submitted to the parliamentary committee for inclusion on the parliament’s agenda.

The Lower House and the Upper House of the Somali Parliament have announced the appointment of these two special committees.

The proposed amendment of the constitution would extend the term of office of members of parliament and the president from four years to five.

Appointments raising concerns in Somalia

The appointments of these special committees have generated worries among some Somalis, who fear that the proposals may undermine the country’s fragile democratic institutions.

Despite garnering some support, some groups oppose extending the terms of parliament and the president. Among them is the Himilo Qaran Party, led by the former president of Somalia, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

In a statement, Sharif expressed his strong opposition to the move, emphasizing the importance of respecting the provisions of the constitution that give the federal government and member states of the federal government the power to lead.

Similarly, MP Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, the special envoy for drought relief of the President of Somalia, has accused the parliamentary committee of working term extension.

He has argued that the parliamentary committee should instead focus on how to move away from the indirect election system that has been in place for some time.

Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs move

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Hassan Mo’llim Mohamud, has appointed an independent committee of five members to review the country’s constitution and work on its implementation.

The cabinet has approved the committee of the federal government of Somalia. The next step is for the committee to go before the federal parliament to complete the constitutional process of appointing its members.

The committee’s mandate will be to review the country’s constitution and identify areas that need to be amended or updated.

Its work will also extend to implementing the constitution, particularly concerning elections and other key democratic processes.

The committee comprises five nominated members, including Mohammed Hassan Idriss, Ahmed Mohamud Jama, Mohamed Abdall Salah, Farhia Mumin Ali, and Burhan Adan Omar, as well as five other members from the regional governments that are members of the federal government of Somalia.