Senators call for urgent review of Constitution, cite inconsistency on Senate laws

Senators following proceedings in a past seating. The Senators are proposing review of articles referring to the senate citing inconsistency. File Photo: Goobjoog News
Senators following proceedings in a past seating. The Senators are proposing review of articles referring to the senate citing inconsistency. File Photo: Goobjoog News

The Senate has proposed the review of eight articles in the Provisional Constitution which refer to among others the powers and responsibilities of the senate citing what it termed as contradictions and lack of lack of clarity.

In a memorandum this week, the Senators recommended urgent review of articles relating to relationship between the Upper and Lower House in regards to draft bills, impeachment of the president and membership of former presidents in the Federal Parliament.

Former presidents

Article 64 (4) of the Provisional Constitution gives life membership to former presidents safe for those who have been impeached. “Any person who becomes the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia shall become a life member of the House of the People after leaving the office of President of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” the article reads but sets a caveat for those hounded out of office through article 92 which provides for impeachment of the president on grounds of treason, or gross violation of the Constitution or the laws of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

The Senators in their memorandum propose the insertion of the Upper House in the article so that former presidents enjoy life membership of both houses.

Legislative Powers of the Upper House

Additionally, the Senators are proposing articles 71 (i) and 113 be merged and read together noting the two articles are unnecessarily placed separately within the Supreme Law. Article 71 (i) on the Legislative Powers of the Upper House mandates the Senate to participate in the appointment of the chairpersons of independent commissions.

Article 113 on the other hand leaves the regulation of independent commissions to a legislation. The regulations of the Independent Commissions shall be stated in a law passed made by the House of the People of the Federal Parliament, the article reads.

Impeachment

The procedures on the impeachment of the president is another area the Senators call for review questioning the rationale of relegating the Senate only to a vote and leaving the bulk of the process to the Lower House.

Article 92 (1) of the Provisional Constitution provides thus: The House of the People of the Federal Parliament can propose the dismissal of the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia if he is accused of treason, or gross violation of the Constitution or the laws of the Federal Republic of Somalia.

A seating of both Houses can deliver its verdict on the president’s stay in office should the Constitutional Court establish grounds for impeachment, article 92 (3) says. The Senators argue otherwise in their proposals calling for their participation not only in the voting but also initiation of impeachment proceedings.

The Provisional Constitution grants the President Powers to open and dissolve the Lower House as stipulated in articles 90 (g) and 90 (o) respectively. A no mention of the Senate in both sub articles has also caught the attention of the Senate and is therefore calling for urgent review to provide clarity.

Legal doublespeak

Finally, the Senators are urging clarity in regards to legislative procedures in Parliament. Specifically, the Senators read ambiguity in articles 81, 82, and 83. Article 81 (2) reads thus: Only the House of the People of the Federal Parliament has the authority to reject draft legislation.

However, subsequent sub articles in 82 and 83 grant powers the Senate to reject draft legislations, a matter the Senate says presents legal ambivalence.

For instance, article 82 (2) reads-When the Upper House of the Federal Parliament receives a draft law passed by the House of the People of the Federal Parliament, it may take any of the following courses of action (among them): To reject the draft law, and refer it back to the House of the People of the Federal Parliament, with reasons for its rejection.

 

 

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