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Former Somali president Sheikh Sharif warns against clannism, unilateral constitutional changes

Thursday March 21, 2024

Garowe (HOL) -  Former Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed warned on Thursday against allowing the country's current leader to steer it into irreversible territory by pandering to clan interests, urging steadfastness in upholding previous commitments.

Sheikh Sharif criticized President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's administration during a press conference in Mogadishu for continuing to pursue initiatives opposed by the opposition, among other concerns. He believes President Hassan Sheikh intends to unilaterally replace the country's constitution, which belongs to the entire nation.

"Yesterday, President Hassan Sheikh and I, alongside other opposition figures, stood united against Farmajo during the last election, decrying his interference in the electoral process. Our opposition transcended clan affiliations. However, today, graver issues loom as the constitution, a document owned by the entire nation, is being unilaterally shaped by the President (Hassan Sheikh), without consultation," Sheikh Sharif stated.

"Clan politics undermine our national unity and hinder our progress," he added.

On Tuesday, dozens of Somali lawmakers from both houses issued a videotaped statement criticizing how the constitution is being debated in parliament as part of the review process before it is implemented.

Constitutional review was one of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud's campaign pledges when he took office in May 2022.

Sheikh Sharif emphasized that the ongoing process is not merely about finalizing the constitution but about fundamentally altering it, with significant sections being excised.

"While concluding the constitution is commendable, it must adhere to constitutional protocols. Parliament and committees should function autonomously. What we witness now involves constitutional amendments, not mere completion," Sheikh Sharif remarked.

Sheikh Sharif also highlighted President Hassan Sheikh's discussions regarding actions potentially detrimental to Somalia's governance.

"Moreover, for over a year, we have implored the president not to prolong his tenure without fulfilling his duties. Presently, matters have gravely deteriorated, exacerbating tribal divisions and eroding trust," Sheikh Sharif added.

The former Somali president underscored that nothing deemed unlawful will gain approval from the Federal Parliament of Somalia.

"I urge my brother that even if missteps occur, Parliament will not endorse them," Sharif Sheikh Ahmed affirmed.


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