Former Somali President Farmajo raises alarm on potential shift in constitutional approach, highlighting the threat of returning to village life.

Former President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has criticized the Somali federal government’s strategy for finalizing the constitution. In a 10-minute pre-recorded speech distributed to the media on Wednesday, Farmajo discussed involving all political stakeholders and community sectors in the constitutional amendment process and urged President Hassan Sheikh’s administration to reconsider the nation’s trajectory.

He stated, “Political change in Somalia must proceed through authentic national discussions, consent, and follow the parliamentary rules and procedures. A hasty political process driven by personal agendas can divide our nation. Inclusive politics should involve everyone.”

Farmajo argued that the government’s approach is more akin to creating a new constitution than amending it per the traditional procedures. He warned, “If the government persists on its current trajectory without modifying its approach, and if the international community does not intervene, then people might as well return to their own villages to herd their livestock. That will be the end of our statehood and our country.

He also pointed out Somalia’s precarious position under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, stressing the necessity for self-reliance. Without it, Somalia risks losing international support and compromising its sovereignty.

Chapter 7 of the UN Charter empowers the UN Security Council to address threats to international peace and security. It permits measures ranging from sanctions to military intervention to restore or uphold peace.

He claimed the entire agenda is flawed, indicating that what is underway is not a minor adjustment but a significant overhaul of the constitution. Specifically, he referred to Chapter 4, which is currently debated in parliamentary sessions and suggests transitioning the country from its existing parliamentary system to a presidential system, including a vice president.

During his tenure, Farmaajo signed a new law delaying constitutional amendments in December 2020, just months before his official term expired, despite promising to deliver a new constitution by the end of his term.

The former President also engaged in frequent constitutional power struggles with his Prime Minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble.

Farmajo’s critics slammed his presidency for what they saw as extra-constitutional decrees, most notably his attempt to extend his presidential term by two years while he lacked the legal authority to govern.

Other Somali politicians, including former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre, have also voiced opposition to the ongoing process of amending the constitution.

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