Somalia: Opposition Leaders Boycott President’s Proposed New Constitution

Published: March 30, 2024
Somalia: Opposition Leaders Boycott President's Proposed New Constitution
former Prime Ministers Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, Hassan Ali Kheyre, and Hon. Abdirahman Abdishakur Warame,

Three prominent opposition figures in Somalia have jointly boycotted a proposed new constitution put forward by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. In a press release issued today, former Prime Ministers Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke and Hassan Ali Kheyre, along with politician Abdirahman Abdishakur Warame, accused the President of trying to consolidate power and undermine the country’s provisional constitution adopted in 2012.

The 2012 provisional constitution consists of 15 chapters and 143 articles agreed upon after years of negotiations. It outlines key provisions such as the distribution of powers between federal and state governments, resource sharing, an independent judiciary, and the establishment of oversight bodies like a human rights commission and anti-corruption committee.

However, the opposition leaders state that instead of implementing this constitution, the President is pushing for “a new constitution with the instructions of the past that was atrocious in which the power of ruling was concentrated in one hand.”

They charge that the President’s actions have “led the country to chaos and political uncertainty,” disrupting reconciliation efforts and undermining government institutions. By creating “two controversial constitutions,” they argue he has obscured his own legitimacy.

The three politicians declared they will never accept changing the constitution “to fulfill the whims and wishes of the President.” They called on the Somali people and international community to hold President Mohamud and the speakers of parliament responsible for any consequences stemming from altering the agreed constitutional process.

The statement warned that allowing a return to concentrated power would harm national unity and reconciliation after decades of conflict. It stated that citizens have “a duty to prevent any attempt to return to the painful past.”

The President’s office has not yet responded to the accusations leveled in the strongly-worded press release from these key opposition voices. The developments raise fears of a potential constitutional crisis in Somalia.