Report card: Jawari and the Federal Parliament
Dr. Mohamed Osman Jawari, the speaker has finally spoken after long period of dormancy and in activity for almost three years. Mr. Jawari, though to his credit has been a consensus builder, peace maker, and less controversial unlike his predecessors Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden and Aden Mohamed Nur alas Aden Madoobe but chose compromise over confrontation on sticky issues. Also, the speaker is different from his predecessors and happens to be very well educated, experienced with excellent professional qualifications that include a Director General and a Cabinet post in Gen. Mohamed Siad Barre’s government among other things.
In addition, for what is worth the speaker and his parliament and the government are quite different institutions than the previous transitional governments and technically for all intense purposes they are not any longer in a transition as before but moved into a “permanent government” and expected to do a better job of bringing hope to the people and the country. However, the parliament under his leadership has been the most uneventful of all times since the inception of transitional federal government in August 2002 except the current push to impeach president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the president on charges of treason, corruption and serious violations of the constitution but yet it remains to been seen how things will develop.
Therefore, people cannot comprehend why the speaker and the parliament under his leadership could have neglected and failed to supervise and oversee the affairs of the government to go bad for almost four years in existence. It is commendable, though that top officials of the federal government to admit publicly to have failed miserably and couldn’t accomplish all necessary tasks for the democratization process of the country in preparation for 2016 General Elections. If you, ask me the most honorable thing for them to do was to step-aside which they didn’t but sadly they chose to stay on and continue to warm up their seats.
However, there are pieces of legislation that the parliament has passed under Mr. Jawari’s leadership including the controversial agreements between Somalia-Turkey regarding the Capital City, Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport and the Seaport which are the two main point of entry to the country. These two agreements, were overwhelmingly rejected by the parliament but the president is alleged to have given the Turkish Companies the green line to ignore the legislatures and instructed them to carry-on with their work.
To the speaker’s dismay and the parliament the Turkish Companies continue to work uninterrupted and their overtake of the Airport and the Seaport is complete and nothing he or the parliament could do to stop it. Accordingly, the parliament made these two agreements as part of the overall violations that the president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamed was allegedly accused to warrant his impeachment. Also, Mr. Jawari and his parliament pass each year a “government budget” that consists only salaries with no other budgetary allocations for development or other programs but civil servants and armed forces who are included in the budgetary process do not receive their small salaries regularly but once in every four months while top government officials with hefty salaries never miss a single payment. And, the unelected parliament has passed a lucrative pension plan and other benefits for top government officials who are not duly elected by the people and doesn’t qualify any privileges and entitlements after their services are terminated.
Nevertheless, the speaker broke his silence and spoke publicly for the first time about three important national issues such as: Banadir Region, establishment of regional states and Somaliland.
1) the speaker clearly hinted to supports the merger of Middle Shabelle-Hiran and that he opposes the merger between Banadir Region and Middle Shabelle like the president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the prime minister, Omer Abdirashid Ali which doesn’t mean they are right and obvious reasons with different point of views.
I dare, say that it will be unwise and a step in the wrong direction to ignore the constitutional status of Banadir Region and its fourteen districts (lawfully created based on Law No. 23, dated July 1974) and try to strip off its status and scrap its districts to fashion it after Ethiopia’s Capital City, Addis Abeba with no districts and under the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal government where the majority Oromo people who are the original residents of the city are politically disadvantaged and vote only for the mayor.
Of course, this will mean the 2.5 million inhabitants of the region to loose their legal and constitutional rights of political, economic, social, cultural and human rights in order to have representation, at the regional state level and at the federal level in both houses of parliament which will be unfair and unacceptable to the people of the region.
2) he spoke of Somaliland and said, “no more secession and the matter will be concluded before the end of this year 2015” which everybody agrees with him.
Maybe, the speaker knows something that we don’t know and believes that he can persuade Somaliland authorities to abandon their quest for an illusive secession which is now a major headache for the international community and also holding the rest of the people of Somali Republic hostage denying them to have peace, security and stability to develop and attract businesses from the international community to come and invest in the country in order to create vital job opportunities and technical know-how.
3) he has flatly rejected the legitimacy of so-called regional states of Jubaland and South-West and rightly said, that, “they can’t be called regional states without parliamentary approval and called them temporary arrangements” but the president and the prime minister support these ill-gotten regional states of Jubaland, Gal-Mudug and South-West and also he put on edge and on an alert mode Puntland.
For instance, the regional state of Jubbaland was nullified by the Federal Parliament but the president and the prime minister challenging the speaker and the legislature went ahead to attend after they were invited during the swearing in ceremony of its president, Ahmed Mohamed Islan alas Ahmed Madoobe. Believe me you, most of the people in the country agree with the speaker on these matters but afraid that the president and prime minister “may” undermine his efforts from within to pave the way for the government to fall in the wrong hands again since their political career hangs in the balance.
Clearly, this shows that there is a cross purposes between the top officials of the government where the president and the prime minister are on one side and the speaker on the other side. Nonetheless, we can speculate that the speaker wants a bottom-up approach and to do the right thing and the necessary tasks of constructing an elected administrations at the district and regional levels in the country.
On the other hand, the president and the prime minister for a political expedience of arm twisting want a top-down approach working aggressively outside parliament and cabinet and refusing to ascertain the wishes of the people concerned in regards to the regions merged into regional states that are not all-inclusive for their administration and not established on the principles of democracy but to be federated into regional states without their free will which is a disaster waiting to happen.
Without, a doubt the president wants to influence the national political system of Somalia through the formation of regional states in his favor and he has been busy on how to firmly secure their top positions and legislature in the hands of his close associates and political allies in which he has the financial resources and position of authority to do so and thus far no one could stop him. Thus, hoping that they will be selecting and appointing the next federal members of parliament who will elect the next Head of State and surely to guarantee his come back for second term. presidency of these regions for his friends hoping. However, the question is, what is in it for Omer Abdirashid Ali? In my view, there must be a convergence of mind and purpose between the top officials of the government and spell out a common strategy on how to achieve that could be acceptable to the people of Banadir Region, Formation of Regional States and Somaliland which be the national of face of the country.