Farmajo uses Somalian security crisis as an excuse to defy constitution and remain in power
Earlier this month, Somalian parliament ruled out the possibility of extending tenure of incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. As per Somalian constitution, a President’s terms lasts for four years, hence Farmajo’s tenure expired on February 7. The Parliament Speaker Mohamed Mursal Sheikh emphasised that the National Assembly in no way permitted Farmajo’s term expansion beyond its expiry date.
The country which is currently mired into political crisis, was also heading towards constitutional crisis as Farmajo has been trying to manipulate the county leaders into accepting his electoral agreement. The agreement introduced on September 17, 2020 would turn his 4 years of semi-authoritarian rule into an untrammelled despotism. Contrary to Farmajo’s arm twisting of constitution, Somalia had history of peaceful transition of leadership after every four years since 2000, and it earned the distinction of being first African nation to have democratically elected president to peacefully step down.
Defying the political tradition, Farmajo’s government has been pressing for indirect elections, instead of direct elections, wherein senators and members of parliament, elected by community leaders, would be delegated the power to elect Somalia’s president. The country’s opposition leaders and civil society groups have strongly condemned the move, labelling it as an attempt to silence dissent.
Observes even accused the outgoing Somali president of using force to ‘stage coup’ in the nation, which he could use as an excuse to remain in power. In the pursuit of unrestrained power, Farmajo killed his own people as last week several demonstrators, who rallied against Farmajo’s abrasive annexation of power, were shot at by the country’s security forces.
The country’s opposition leaders reached out to Barbara Woodward, the president of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) with a written plea, urging the international organisation for immediate intervention and pressing for Farmajo’s peaceful political handover. The statement submitted to Woodward read, “It’s deeply regrettable that former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has refused to handover power and facilitate smooth transition through a fair and credible election in the country.”
“We require you to intervene swiftly as political legitimacy of our fragile institutions require Farmajo to make immediate transfer of power, step down or handover to transitional council”, it added. They even raised the plea for open investigation against recent killings by the security forces.