Somalia’s political parties have gravely concerned with the gross violations of the constitution by the executive branch under the leadership of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo. Instead of upholding the constitution and its founding principles, Mr. Farmaajo acted unconstitutional, carrying out violations on fundamental rights of citizens, misappropriations of public funds, extrajudicial killings, recruitment of paramilitary forces and appointment of Supreme Court judges – all in total disregard to the rule of law of this country which is under painful recovery from the chaos and violence of more than several decades now.
Clearly, constitutionalism is very important for any democracy and it is inevitable that governments exercise power within the legal limits set by the constitution and other laws. From this perspective, an independent judiciary is indispensable, otherwise checks and balances among state organs, separation of power and ultimately the rights and freedoms of citizens will remain irrelevant and consequently our democracy and the rule of law will become under threat from the very government mandated to protect them.
In violation of article 126 of the provisional constitution, Mr. Farmaajo established paramilitary force known as the peoples’ defense force (PDF) as a substitute for the disbanded NISA forces with the intention of suppressing political opponents. Similarly, the appointment of the Chief Justice and the subsequent appointment of the Supreme Court judges contradicts with a number of legislations, including the Judicial Service Act, or Law # 28, particularly Article 5(a) as well as Article 111A of the Provisional Constitution.
Under the pretext of Judicial reform president Farmaajo appointed the Chief Justice and judges of the supreme court in violation of relevant provisions of the constitutions and Judicial Service Commission Act. In the absence of the Judicial Service Commission, the President has no legal authority, and his action amounts to an unconstitutional usurping of power. He can only appoint the Chief Justice and Supreme Court judges upon the advice of the Judicial Service Commission; and these appointments must be approved by the parliament as stipulated by Law # 28. These violations could lead to serious political crises and reverse the hard won transitional gains.
Moreover, it is difficult to overlook the authoritarian tendency of the president since December 2017. With strong paramilitary forces to carry out operations beyond the legal boundaries, judiciary has become the only place left and now it seems all branches of government are consolidated under one man – Mr. Farmajo. This grants the Executive not only an impunity, but also a blank check to continue its political programs against the will of the Somali people.
The political parties of Wadajir, Kulan, Daljir and Horusocod Caucus are dismayed by these flagrant constitutional violations and call for an immediate response by the Parliament to nullify such illegal exercises and restore accountability and trust to the rule of law.