Somali opposition leader urges president to address nation over delay of case with Kenya

Leader of the opposition Wadajir Party, Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, has called on President Mohamed Abdullahi farmajo to address the nation over the recent delay of the maritime boundary dispute case with Kenya by the international Court of Justice (ICJ).

The opposition leader questioned the government’s explanation that the case was delayed because of Covid19, saying the court continues to hear other cases despite the pandemic.

He made the comments in an interview with Universal TV.

“[In 2009] we prevented Kenya from taking our continental shelf uncontested. After negotiations failed, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took the case to the ICJ. Under President Farmajo’s watch, the case was delayed three times,” Warsame said, adding there was a lack of clarity on circumstance surrounding the delay as well as the government’s resolve to see to its fruitful conclusion.

“The deputy prime minister said it was delayed because of coronavirus,” the opposition leader went on, speaking of the most recent court decision to postpone public hearings of the case to 2021.

“But there is another case between two other countries at the court right now. That means the delay had nothing to do with coronavirus. No believed I was protecting Somalia’s rights… A statement is not enough. President Farmajo, as the leader of the country, must talk to the nation and explain to us why the case has been delayed for the third time under his watch,” Warsame said.

He welcomed comments made by Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre on 2020 election on 28 May.

“We view the prime minister’s remarks as the first serious comment on the election by the government. It was very encouraging.”

The Wadajir leader said opposition parties have welcomed the prime minister’s comments because they contained several important points.

“That the election must be held on time, and he spoke of how this election was important for the country’s stability. That the electoral model should be decided by political stakeholders, this is another important point. And that his government was committed to prioritise the election. These are the things we have been demanding of the government. Now we wait and see if the government will walk the talk,” he said.

Warsame also described the work of the parliamentary committee tasked with completing electoral legislations as unconstitutional.

“I see the bicameral parliament committee on completion of electoral legislations’ work as unconstitutional. If there was a constitutional court in the country, our party would have filed a case against this committee,” he said.

He took issue with the notion that the committee was working to establish electoral constituencies in the country based on the 4.5 clan power sharing system.

“If parliament is working on a one-man one-vote election, the only thing they need to do is set the number of constituencies in the country and base it on the number of people in each constituency… A one-man, one-vote election which is based on clan is not universal suffrage.”