Mogadishu(Mogadishu24)-Over 70 members of both Houses of the Somalia’s Federal Parliament announced their opposition to the ongoing debates related to amendments of the provisional constitutional review.

These members said in a statement released Wednesday that they have withdrawn and boycotted the ongoing constitutional review, showing 60 members of the senate and lower House of the Parliament who signed the motion so far.

“We, the undersigned members of the Somali federal parliament, are deeply concerned about the current constitutional review process taking place at the Federal Parliament. These concerns are vital to maintaining the unity and political stability of the nation. The constitution serves as a social contract, critical in mitigating conflicts, maintaining national unity, and upholding political stability”, said the statement.

These lawmakers’ opposition came as the rest of the Mps concluded discussions of chapter 4 yesterday, while they are going to end the debate and pass the amendments made into the constitiution next week according to sources.

Parliament’s opposition wing based their rejections to the following 11 points below :-

1.In May 2023 NCC meeting, the group put forth a proposal for the inclusion of a new chapter in the constitution. However, the absence of Puntland Regional State has raised legitimate concerns about the council’s decision, which is based on consensus.
2.Furthermore, we are disappointed that the rules and procedures for the adoption of the constitutional review process were not followed. The leadership of the Parliament has deliberately violated these rules and procedures, undermining the process’s integrity and credibility.
3.Additionally, the Speaker’s persistent demand for the debate to proceed without the required members of the parliament present undermines the credibility and accountability of the constitutional review process. The presence of a parliamentary quorum is essential in any legislative procedure, particularly emphasized in the constitution, which guarantees representation and active involvement.
4.The proposed amendments to the Constitution presented for debate comprise of four comprehensive chapters, that effectively give rise to a new Constitution rather than simply modifying or amending the existing one. In total, 45 Articles and 97 Clauses have been amended, while 19 Articles and 94 Clauses have been added that were not present in the original Constitution. Additionally, 3 articles and 26 clauses from the original Constitution have been removed.
5.Chapter 1 focuses on changes to nine articles and twenty-one clauses. Two clauses have been deleted from the Constitution, and nine new clauses have been introduced.
6.Chapter 2 deals with amendments to thirty articles and sixty clauses. Two articles and twenty-three clauses have been removed from the original Constitution, while one article and twenty-seven new articles have been added.
7.Chapter 3 involves amendments to six articles and fifteen clauses. One clause from the original Constitution has been deleted, and three new articles and thirteen clauses have been added.
8.Chapter 4 is entirely new, except for one article. It consists of sixteen new articles, and forty-five clauses. This important chapter proposes a new electoral model and suggests a shift from the existing parliamentary system to a presidential system, a change that holds immense significance for the destiny of Somalia. We believe that this foundational article must genuinely reflect the collective will of the Somali people, rather than rushing unilaterally to its endorsement.
9.Similarly, the president’s relentless pursuit to implement Constitutional amendments through cunning political tactics, like luring MPs with ministerial positions and extending the mandate of the regional presidents, poses a threat to the very foundation of democracy that we ought to safeguard.
10.The current constitutional review process suffers from a lack of transparency and inclusivity, which undermines legitimacy and trust in the final outcome. This hampers the creation of a constitution that genuinely reflects the aspiration and hopes of the Somali people.
11.As Members of Parliament, we strongly urge President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the custodian of the constitution, to refrain from interfering and pressuring members of parliament. We also request him to avoid creating situations that may undermine the unity of our country. Finally, given the reasons stated above, the undersigned MPs have decided to withdraw from and boycott the current parliamentary debate on the constitutional review process. We will only resume our participation when the credibility of the process is restored, and significant stakeholders have shown their support.

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