Decision by Parliament to disregard Court verdict on poll a recipe for anarchy

A Somali lawmaker casts her ballot during the presidential vote at the airport in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu February 8, 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

The Lower House Saturday voted to, in its wisdom to render null and void a High Court ruling May 16 this year which found the election of eight members of parliament violated the electoral laws and procedures and therefore ordered a repeat exercise.

The High Court ruling MS/DH/09/2017 which directed the responsible electoral body to prepare and conduct a new poll for the eight seats upheld an earlier verdict by the Independent Dispute Resolution Mechanism.

The doctrine of separation of powers aptly contemplated by the Provisional Constitution and other laws of the land guarantees a seamless relationship of the three arms of government and provides the necessary mechanisms through which conflicts can be addressed.

It is in this letter and spirit of the Supreme Law that the Judiciary establishes its independence from the Legislative and the Executive arms of government through article 106 of the Provisional Constitution.

Inherent in any jurisdiction world over is the respect and obeisance of court verdicts. One does not chose to abide by a court ruling; it is obligatory. But the law provides caveats against court rulings-an appeal.

It follows therefore that the decision by Parliament to ‘overrule’ the High Court on the electoral dispute does not only set a dangerous precedent but also drives the country to a path of anarchy. When the legislature or executive usurp the powers of court, that should raise the red flag; it is a message to the People of Somalia that you too can choose which court ruling to abide by and which to disregard.

Speaker of Parliament Osman Jawaari must rise to the occasion and provide sound leadership to the House and save the country a constitutional crisis. The trajectory the 10th Parliament is taking in this early period of its term signals the unveiling of a rogue Parliament which must be resisted at all costs within the Law.

 

 

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