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Warnings as Somali lawmakers move to impeach president

Somali government during a debate/FILE

Somali government during a debate/FILE

SOMALIA, Aug 20 – Somali lawmakers said Thursday they are determined to hold a vote of no confidence to oust the president, dismissing international warnings it will hamper peace efforts in the war-torn nation.

“This motion is not aimed at destruction, but rather correction,” said MP Abdi Barre Yusuf, who is backing the motion accusing the president of corruption.

A motion of no confidence in President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud was tabled earlier this week. While it is not clear how many support it, lawmakers claim they have around 100 members of parliament behind it.

However, two-thirds of the 275 member house would have to back the vote to oust the president.

International backers have warned against the move, including the United Nations, regional nations and the 22,000-strong African Union force (AMISOM), which is battling Somalia’s Al-Qaeda affiliate, the Shabab.

They said in a statement there was “deep concern that the parliamentary motion to impeach President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud will impede progress on Somalia’s peace and state building goals.”

The joint statement was also signed by East Africa’s regional IGAD bloc, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, as well as the European Union, Britain and the United States.

The Shabab still control large parts of the rural south and attacks at will in Mogadishu.

The vote must still be tabled in parliament by the speaker.

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Abdirahman Hosh Jibril, another lawmaker, said the group pushing the motion accused the president of having “intervened with the independent constitutional institutions of the country like the courts.”

International backers warned that efforts to impeach the president — a former university lecturer — will “consume extremely valuable time, not least in the absence of essential legal bodies,” the statement read.

“The submission of any such motion requires a high standard of transparency and integrity in the process,” it added.

Somalia last month admitted that insecurity and lack of political progress means there cannot be “one man, one vote” elections in 2016 as envisaged by the UN, foreign diplomats and the government itself.

What that electoral process might look like will be decided by the end of the year, with the Somali government due to hold public consultations before presenting proposals to the international community in early 2016.

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