Parliamentary Sub Committees must do their job – UM

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Xildhibaanadda Barlamaanka Soomaaliya/Somali MPs Photo, Google

Mogadishu (UM) – Today the Somali parliament was disrupted by angry MPs blaming the government leadership for the increasing insecurity in Mogadishu. The angry MPs held up papers with written statements which showed their anger and frustration with the security situation in the capital. The Speaker of parliament, Mohamed Mursal, closed the session without which did not have quorum to open the discussion on any topic including security.

The MPs who wanted to discuss the issue of security were angered because they believed the government leadership instructed their colleagues in the House who are part of the Cabinet to not attend the session so there was no quorum. The parliamentary session ended in chaos and more division.

Security is the biggest challenge Somalia faces. It is where the government spends most of its money but this is not translating into quick results because the political and security situation is complex. MPs are right to voice their concerns because they represent the public but they need to use the mechanisms that exist to scrutinise the executive branch. Shouting in parliament about insecurity when it is not in the agenda is not effective. What MPs who want to hold the government to account for insecurity must do is use the parliamentary committee and televise the discussions live for the public.

The parliamentary committees of security and defence exist but are doing nothing. These committees have the power to call the relevant Ministers and question them. They can even call them before the parliament. If they are not satisfied, MPs can even call the Prime Minister and President but to do this they themselves must be doing things for the right reasons and not just to frustrate the government and the public. The opposition in parliament have a fundamental democratic duty to hold the government to account and offer credible alternatives.The opposition in parliament have so far been failing in both. If they want to be taken seriously, they must start using the right channels at the right time to hold this government to account. The public wants secuirty to get on with their lives and they cannot afford political point scoring between rival groups in parliament.

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