Security reform plan will balkanise the military and violates supreme law-Parliament

Lower House Defense Committee has warned the new security architecture could divide the military into clan groupings. File Photo: Goobjoog News
Lower House Defense Committee has warned the new security architecture could divide the military into clan groupings. File Photo: Goobjoog News

Parliamentary defence committee has poured cold water on the newly announced national security architecture terming it a recipe for disintegration of the national army into tribal militias.

Noting that architecture particularly that which refers to the formation of the national army amounted to a violation  of the constitution, the committee warned the composition of the army based on equitable distribution to regional administrations which are established along clan lines risks compromising the integrity and independence of the army.

“Sharing the powers of the Somali National Army (SNA) Commanders with Federal Member State presidents and establishing an army based on clan lines risks creating a tribal force,” the committee said.

In a seven point motion tabled before the House Tuesday, the committee raised a number of issues which it said could compromise the country’s security framework if the proposals are endorsed in the May 11 London conference.

Following the conclusion of three days talks in Mogadishu last week, the Federal Government and the Federal Member states leaders proposed Somalia will have an 18,000 strong military excluding the navy and air force.

A number of areas in the new architecture have irked the committee. First, on formation and composition of the army, the new plan gives powers heads of regional administrations in distribution of forces and hiring of sector commanders. Somali National Army and Federal Member States leadership will participate in the distribution of forces, article 7 of the architecture reads. Another article, 20 notes, ‘In consultation with the Federal Member States presidents, the chief of defense forces will propose SNA sector commanders to the Ministry of Defense for approval’.

Citing article 54 of the Provisional Constitution, the lawmakers said including federal state leaders in the formation, composition and distribution of the Somalia National Army amounted to a violation of the constitution. Article 54 outlines four areas which are exclusively within the remit of the Federal Government namely Foreign Affairs, National Defense, Citizenship and Immigration and Monetary Policy.

Further, the 12 member committee states the Provisional Constitution does not sight the federal member state leaders in making any rules relating to the military but gives parliament the powers to enact necessary laws on formation and composition of the army.

Article 130 which the MPs cite reads: The two Houses of the Parliament shall enact a law governing the structure, functions and levels of the security agencies of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

The architecture also proposes the the five Federal Member States- HirShabelle, Puntland, Galmudug, Jubbaland and South West will each be allocated 3,000 slots. Banaadir region will also contribute 3,000 troops.

The security architecture unveiled last week received praise from the international community with the UN Special envoy to Somalia Michael Keating terming it ‘a milestone for Somalia’. The UK immediately responded with a £21m support to actualize the architecture.

 

 

 


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