IMPEACHMENT: Détente in the Horn and unintended consequences in Somalia

Abiy Ahmed's fast-paced quest for reforms and 'brotherly relations' in the Horn of Africa seem to have fortuitously driven President Farmaajo into a legal and political cliff at the homefront

By T. Roble

The new political wave that has swept through the Horn of Africa in the recent months following the coming to power of Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed may have had unintended consequences in Somalia as parliament now accuses the President of ‘unilaterally’ and ‘blindly’ entering into agreements with Ethiopia and Eritrea without blessings from both Parliament and the Cabinet.

Now over 90 MPs are seeking the President’s removal from office over his ‘unsanctioned’ engagements with other Horn of Africa leaders in what could, even if it fails herald a rocky political path in his administration’s sunset years.

While the world cheered Ahmed’s rapprochement with his neighbours-Somalia and Eritrea in what unveiled a new dawn of relations among countries which had hitherto either been sworn enemies or remained antagonistic to each other for decades, in Mogadishu, opposition politicians were closely watching the President’s moves.

FOUR PORTS

In the impeachment motion, three accusations based on the Presidents camaraderie with Abiy Ahmed and Eritrea’s Isaias Afwerki stand out. According to the motion filed Sunday evening, the President’s tribulations started in June when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made his maiden and historic visit to Mogadishu-June 16 to be precise.

Following a meeting with President Farmaajo, a 16 point communique emerged in which the two leaders agreed on building mutual relations in security, political and economic fronts. But the idea of Ethiopia been ‘granted’ access to develop four sea ports in Somalia has since then generated debate.

“In an effort to attract and retain foreign investment to the two countries and the Horn of Africa Region, the leaders agreed on the joint investment in four key sea ports between the two countries, and the construction of the main road networks and arteries that would link Somalia to mainland Ethiopia,” the communique read in part. To effect this agreement, the communique continues, “The leaders agreed to constitute a designated joint technical team that would immediately embark on the key task of outlining this substantial undertaking.”

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The President, the motion reads, violated article 90 (q) of the Provisional Constitution which required him to seek the approval of the Cabinet and the Lower House before entering into any international agreement.

OFF-THE-CUFF REMARK

Another meeting between September 5 and 6 in Asmara which was the second for Farmaajo after an earlier visit there late July has also caught the attention of the proponents of the motion. During the tripartite meeting, the three countries agreed to ‘create a close relationship to the political, economic, social, and cultural and security sectors’ and form an executive committee to implement the agreements. But MPs are now putting the President to task for appending his signature to an agreement devoid of ‘home blessings’.

Lastly an off-the-cuff remark by Abiy Ahmed November 10 during the inauguration of Bahir Dar University’s Tibebe Ghion Specialized Hospital in northern Ethiopia is now putting Farmaajo in the defense. Ahmed alluded to a political federation among the three HoA countries. “We will not have three presidents but one,” said Ahmed.

In the motion, the MPs are questioning the President’s silence and seeming endorsement of the idea ‘given his silence and perhaps facial expressions during the meeting’.

“The President seemed happy and he did not even say if that represented the views of Somalia,” the motion sponsors said.

 

 

 

 

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