Speaker of the House bars 15 MPs from chamber after fracas


MOGADISHU (HOL)  –  The Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Mursal has announced that 15 MPs have been suspended from the lower house for their part in upending Saturday’s session.

In a statement, Mursal said that the MPs would be barred from participating in the subsequent five sessions, accusing them of causing a riot in parliament.

The lawmakers shouted down the speaker at the onset of proceedings claiming the session was aimed at casting a vote on term extension for President Mohamed Farmaajo. They also accused Mursal of allowing the army into the chamber to violate the procedures and laws that protect lawmakers from such interference.

Abdirizak Omar, an MP who was among the more than dozen banned by the speaker, said that he enjoys parliamentary immunity while sitting as a house member.

“The speaker has no respect for the rule of law and is abusing the entrusted authority to act as an arbiter. Members of Parliament have immunity from any disciplinary action while in the house. In the event of a disruption in the house, the speaker can close the session as per article 16(4).”

Omar added that Mursal was outside his legal authority to issue punitive actions.

“He has no authority to discipline MPs. None of the articles of the house rules & procedure he referenced to sanction 15 MPs, including myself, give him the authority to discipline MPs.This is purely abuse of power & we won’t abide by such illegality as members of the legislature.”

Mursal told MPs that the session was called to discuss COVID-19 while many opposition MPs suspected the hidden agenda was to vote on term extension for President Farmajo, whose constitutional mandate expired on February 8. Hassan Abdi Ismail said that he had not received the official agenda, which should have been delivered 24 hours before the MPs took their seats.

Mursal is widely seen as an ally of Somalia’s embattled President with considerable influence and is widely credited with masterminding former prime minister Hassan’s ouster in a resounding vote of no confidence in July 2020.