Parliament is yet to form House Business Committees and engage in any meaningful business besides electing a new president and approving the Prime Minister, a section of lawmakers have said noting MPs are busy lobbying for their own to the cabinet and balancing off numbers for the Cabinet vote expected soon.
Lawmakers who spoke to Goobjoog News expressed dismay over what the termed as failure by the speaker to summon the House for business almost four months after they were sworn in. By end of April, the MPs will be proceeding for a two months holiday.
“It is very unfortunate that Parliament is not having its seating despite being in session. MPs are busy with the formation of the government and how they will direct their vote for the council of ministers,” said MP Khalid Ma’ow.
Ma’ow who contested for deputy speaker January but lost wondered why the August House was not in business yet it operates its own calendar different from the rest of government. “We have clear cut out assignments so we are not depending on the government for direction. With or without a new government, we have a job to do,” noted Ma’ow.
Even when finally the House kicks off serious business, Ma’ow says MPs take the shortest time possible in the House. “They come very late for sessions and leave early as well.”
Parliament sits three times in a week; Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. With two sessions in a year, the House conducts business for four months in each session.
House Business Committees
So far, lawmakers tell Goobjoog News, the House is yet to constitute any House Business committee; the very crucial components which ensure its proper conduct of business. An MP who did not want to be named said they are still waiting to know which committee they have been assigned to after filling forms in February.
“Each one of us filled forms based on which committee we want to be in but since then there is no word about it,” the lawmaker said.
Long serving MP and former deputy Speaker shared similar concerns with his colleague Ma’ow. “MPs are busy on this cabinet issue and no one seems to care about the business of the House. Parliament is not doing its job.”
Dalha said the House must dispose of the formation of the House Business Committees immediately to enable it execute business ahead.
“The President is working and so is the Prime Minister, why aren’t we?” posed Dalha.
The Prime Minister was expected to present his cabinet list to Parliament for approval before end of March but it seems he may have to postpone to early April. Lawmakers have questioned the line-up warning it does not meet the constitutional threshold and violates the 4.5 clan distribution formula.
Speaker Mohamed Jawaari asked the PM in a letter Saturday to consider concerns by the MPs to avoid a shot down in the House. The PM needs a 50%+1 vote for his cabinet to sail through the House and given the near unanimous vote he got for his endorsement February, he could still marshal the numbers, absent the anti-list caucus.
Warsame Hassan Jodah (MP) says failure by Parliament to conduct serious business is costing the country a great deal noting a number of issues in the country require parliamentary attention.
“We are experience serious cases of insecurity, we need to question the people in charge of security but we are not doing so because Parliament is not sitting,” said Jodah. The lawmaker warns Parliament is wasting public resources by failing to do what it should be doing.
A section of MPs had last week warned the Speaker of his interference with the cabinet selection and went ahead with plans to censure him. However the move came a cropper after some MPs chickened out.
A lawmaker had then warned the speaker against arbitrary conduct of business.
“We have very serious issues to deal with in this country including the ongoing drought but the speaker and his deputies decide to call for seatings at their own pleasure,” the lawmaker said.