Center for Peace and Democracy (CPD)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Who Is Violating The Federal Charter: The Warlords Or The TFG?

The destructive Mogadishu warlords, Sharif Hassan; the run-away speaker of the parliament and their myopic tribalist followers have, in recent months, used the Somali transitional federal Charter in order to legitimize their vicious assault against the Somali transitional federal government by citing Clause 1. of Article 5 of the Charter which states:

The Capital of the Somali Republic shall be Mogadishu (Xamar).

The destructive Mogadishu warlords and Sharif Hassan kept telling anyone who is foolish enough to lend his/her ears to them that President Abdullahi Yusuf, Prime Minister Ali Gedi and the TFG are in violation of the interim federal Charter by relocating the government temporarily in Jowhar after it ended its exile in Nairobi, Kenya.

This absurd interpretation of the transitional federal Charter is interesting for at least three reasons. First, neither President Abdullahi Yusuf nor anyone else for that matter has ever suggested the notion of moving the seat of the Somali transitional federal government to Jowhar permanently. Indeed, the President reiterated many times that the capital of Somalia is Mogadishu and that he was eager to relocate his government there as soon as the security conditions in the capital improve. This meant that, as soon as the brutal tribal militias led by the destructive Mogadishu warlords lay down their arms, the President would be in “Villa Somalia”. Hence, the claim that President Abdullahi Yusuf is violating article 5 of the federal Charter is false. Indeed, at best, it is a figment of the deceptive minds of Sharif Hassan and the destructive Mogadishu warlords.

Second, one could reasonably argue that it is, in reality, the destructive Mogadishu warlords, Sharif Hassan and their tribalist political followers that are violating this very clause of the transitional federal Charter by denying the government its legitimate right to settle down in Mogadishu as dictated by the Charter. I will explain this point further later in this article, but suffice it to say that the fact is that if the warlords were willing to fulfill their political obligations and the legal requirements stated in the transitional federal Charter, we would not be having the current political deadlock today. Hence, the destructive Mogadishu warlords and Sharif Hassan, who by all accounts, turned out to be the puppet and political loud-speaker for the warlords are chasing their own tail to their peril.

Third, you would think, as common sense dictates, that Sharif Hassan and the destructives Mogadishu warlords would do what they are preaching by having the moral decency to follow the Charter which they are accusing the President and his government to be violating. Think again! Evidently, their approach to political ethics and morality is, simply put, “do as we say, but don’t do as we do”. Unfortunately, no one seems to have the moral courage to point out this self evident fact to the Somali populace. Thus, Sharif Hassan and destructive Mogadishu warlords are getting away with this flawed and contradictory political argument while the transitional federal government looks like a lame-duck sitting in Jowhar, with little to say about its own defense. As I have argued many times before, the transitional federal government failed thus far to formulate a coherent political communication’s strategy to counter such misleading claims by the destructive forces in the Somali political arena. As a result, this apparent lack of strategic communications agenda is undoubted giving Sharif and the destructive Mogadishu warlords the upper hand in the critical struggle to win the hearts and minds of the Somali people. Unfortunately, it may be too before the government can successfully put an end to Sharif Hassan’s dangerous brinkmanship.

Now, let’s be fair to the both sides by objectively taking a closer look at the Somali transitional federal Charter and see whether Sharif Hassan and destructive Mogadishu warlords are in breach of the transitional federal Charter. I can grantee you that you will be surprised when you finish reading the rest of this article.

Following are some of the most specific articles of the Charter that Sharif Hassan and destructive Mogadishu warlords have violated thus far. I am sure there are many more, however, this should be sufficient enough for the current argument.

Article 71, Clause 5: (Transitional Period) states:

The Transitional Federal Government shall devote the necessary efforts to restore peace and security, free movement of people, goods and services, disarmament and collection of illegal weapons in the hands of the public for safekeeping rehabilitation and reintegration of all militia in co-operation with regional administrations, traditional elders and members of the international community.

Indeed, President Abdullahi Yusuf and his government are trying very hard to achieve above objectives by reassembling the collapsed Somali national security institutions including the Somali National Army and the Police. What’s the warlord’s response to such important political and security initiative you may ask? Well, they are crying foul by accusing the president of igniting a new civil war. Pathetic! The fact is that Sharif Hassan; the run-away speaker and the destructive Mogadishu warlords are the biggest obstacle preventing the government’s endeavor to fulfill the objectives of the above article. Thus, the warlords and their political allies are the barrier to peace and successful completion of Somali peace process. Indeed, Sharif Hassan and his myopic tribalist warlords are at best slowing down the efforts to bring about broader political settlement in Somalia and at worst they are destroying that effort in its embryonic stages.

Article 71, Clause 8: (Transitional Period) states:

Effective from the conclusion of the Somali National Reconciliation Conference held in Kenya, all militia organizations, armed groups and factions in the territory of the
Somali Republic shall cease to exist and shall turn in their weapons to the Transitional Federal Government.

Well, you do not need to be a constitutional lawyer to figure out that the destructive Mogadishu warlords have clearly violated this article by refusing to disband their illegal tribal militias and lay down their arms as stipulated in this article of transitional federal Charter. Unfortunately, Sharif Hassan is acting as a load-speaker for those who trying to detail the Somali peace process by beating the political drums for the illegal and destructive activities of the warlords. The irony here is that the destructives Mogadishu warlords are cabinet members of the government they are complaining about. Indeed, some of the ministerial portfolios of the warlords include both internal and external security of the country. Hence, if they were honest about finding solutions to the security chaos in Mogadishu, they could have done it in a heart beat. More importantly, they own the brutal tribal militias that are preventing President Abdullahi Yusuf and his government to restore law and order in the devastated city of Mogadishu.

Article 28, Clause, 3: (Parliament) states:

The members of the Parliament shall represent the unity of the nation.

Yet, the warlords have divided the country and particularly Mogadishu among themselves. In addition, they introduced illegal military check-points for their own personal greed with utter disregard of the economic and security well being of the Somali people.

Article 31, Clause 2: (Eligibility Criteria for Membership of Parliament) states:

A person shall be disqualified from being a Member of
Parliament if that person:-
(a) Holds any other public appointment other than as member of the Cabinet;

Despites this clause in the federal Charter prohibiting the members of the federal transitional parliament to hold public positions, the warlords kept their role as brutal tribal chiefs and leaders of the illegal militias that are terrorizing the Somali people in and around Mogadishu.

Now, let’s look closely the specific articles of the transitional federal Charter that Sharif Hassan; the run-away speaker of the TFG has violated.

Article 34: (Procedures in Parliament)

1. The Parliament shall hold two (2) ordinary sessions annually.
2. The Parliament may be convened in extraordinary sessions by the Speaker at the request of the President or upon requisition by one third of its members.
3. Meetings of Parliament or its committees shall be valid with the presence of half plus one of its members.

Yet, in a clear violation of this article, Sharif Hassan rejected many requests President Abdullahi Yusuf made asking for an extraordinary session of the parliament in order to address the current political and security situation in the country. As we all know, Sharif Hassan blocked all the attempts the President and the Prime Minister made since the government ended its exile in Nairobi. Indeed, contrary to his role as neutral Speaker of the parliament as a whole, Sharif Hassan decided to lead splinter group into Mogadishu and saw the seeds of the current political deadlock. Unless we are blind-folded by myopic tribal loyalties, it should be clear to everyone that Sharif Hassan is solely responsible for splitting the parliament into two opposing factions.

Article 38: Proceedings of Parliament

Every Parliamentary sitting shall be presided over by: -
(a) The Speaker or
(b) In the absence of the Speaker any of the Deputy Speakers;
(c) In the absence of the Speaker or any of the Deputy Speakers, such other Member of Parliament as the members shall elect.

In short, it is a mystery to how the destructive Mogadishu warlords and their myopic political load-speaker; Sharif Hassan, could argue that President Abdullahi Yusuf and his Prime Minister; Ali Gedi are violating the transitional federal Charter. The fact is, as demonstrated above the warlords and Sharif Hassan are not only clear violating the Charter but they are killing the very spirit of the Charter, namely, Somali unity and national reconciliation.

One Nation, One Somalia! (Western Somalia-Ogaden and NFD are included)

Bill Ainashe
Washington, DC.
United States



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