Somali lawmakers seek to remove president over corruption claims


Somali lawmakers have a filed a motion to parliament to dismiss President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, accusing him of abuse of office, one of the authors of the motion said.

“We want to present a motion against the Somali president for betraying the nation, corruption and many other reasons,” Mohamed Abdullahi Fadhaye told Reuters, without elaborating.

Parliamentary speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari confirmed late on Friday that 93 lawmakers had filed the motion last week, but he gave no reasons for their move.

The country, which is trying to rebuild after two decades of conflict and chaos, plans to hold elections next year, and Mohamud has said he is committed to holding them on time before his term runs out in August 2016.

Under Somalia’s constitution, at least 90 members of parliament have to sign a motion for it to be debated in parliament. To dismiss the president, two thirds of the 275 lawmakers would need to vote in favour of the motion.

The president’s office said in a statement late on Friday Mohamud was aware of the motion and that the government respected parliament’s role. His spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the corruption accusations.

Donors have complained Mohamud’s cash-strapped government is not doing enough to fight graft and say the theft of scarce government resources had frustrated efforts to build a functioning state.

A 2013 corruption scandal involving the repatriation of overseas Somali state assets frozen at the outset of civil war in 1991 has further strained his relationship with donors. Mohamud and those close to him have repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

A coalition of political parties, The Forum for Unity and Democracy, supported the lawmakers’ motion.
“The President … has behaved unconstitutionally, undermined the integrity and independence of our national institutions,” it said in a statement.

Mohamud added on Friday that lawmakers had more serious issues to debate ahead of the election.
“The limited time we have, does not allow us to engage in disputes and unnecessary issues against the interest of our nation,” Mohamud said in his statement.

Al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, which wants to topple the Western-backed government and impose its strict interpretation of Islam on Somalia, has been driven out of major strongholds by the African and Somali forces but continues to launch bomb and gun attacks against officials, politicians and others.