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Somaliland: No Reason for Speaker to Relinquish Position

by Adan Iman
Friday, September 11, 2015

Hon. Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi Ciro, Speaker of the Lower House of Somaliland

President Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud (Silanyo) issued a statement on September 10, 2015 in which he declared that elections for president and members of lower parliament will be held on March 28, 2017. In the same statement, the President demanded that the Speaker of the Lower House, Abdirahman Mohamed Abdillahi (Cirro) should resign from his position as speaker since he will be a candidate for President.

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It is difficult to understand the correlation between holding election and the demand for the speaker to resign. In the eyes of the constitution the legislature and the executive branch are co-equal. The constitution does not require that President Silanyo, if he were to seek reelection, should first resign from his office. In the same vein, the constitution does not require the speaker of the House to resign if he is candidate for president.

There will be serious risks if the speaker, who is leader of the opposition Wadani party, is to resign. President Silanyo controls the Upper House. This became clear when he engineered the extension of his term of office through April 2017 by asking the Upper House to grant him an extension which they did. President Silanyo also controls the Supreme Court as he fires any judge who rules against the President’s wishes. So if the Speaker resigns, the President will install a loyal member of the Lower House to the speakership and in effect control all three branches of the government. This will give President Silanyo dictatorial powers. He will have leaders of the two Houses and the supreme Court who will be compliant  and ready to rubber stamp any demand the President makes.

Speaker Cirro should not fall into this trap. If he accedes to this demand, he will set a precedent where future speakers can't hold the office of spreakership  while being a candidate for president when the president can remain in office and still seek reelection as former President Dahir Rayale Kahin did when he sought reelction while still in office and lost to Silanayo.

Recently, one of the oficals of Wadani party made it clear the Speaker Cirro will not resign. It will clear the air further if the speaker himself tells somalilanders there is NO contitutional or legal reason for him to relinquish his position and that he will remain as a speaker until election are held.

Adan Iman
Email: [email protected]

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