Oodweyne News - Latest Somali News Update

The duties of Somaliland legislative and Judiciary Branches are over ruled by the executive branch

Democratic system functions with checks and balances. It also relies on transparency, accountability and responsibility. The system of checks and balances is an important part of the Constitution of democratic countries. In the three branches system of government like Somaliland, checks and balances can limit the powers of each of the branches to its constitutional duties; and in this way no one branch becomes too powerful over the others. Countries with this democratic system, their legislative bodies are the prime reassurance of checks and balances to their governments. Through constitutional and related bylaws process the legislative bodies reassure those checks and balances with their contribution to correct government policies and decisions when violating the constitution and to empower constructive approvals, amendments or objections.

In Somaliland our constitution was based on the system of three branch system of government; that any of them can not able to completely control the others. At the same time, the constitution was intended that the legislative branch be the strongest branch of the government; and was given more check and balance powers than either of the other branches. Somaliland is also a presidential government, that the ability to command the country is legitimized by the results of an election; but his government is held accountable to the parliament which is a critical body to control the functioning of the government. The parliament is in a way, a guide for the government. Certainly there is not a single word in the constitution which has given the executive such power of over ruling the duties of the other branches. This is why the knowing of the constitution is so very important document to every Somalilander.

The responsibilities and operations of Somaliland’s legislative branch (House of Representatives and House of senates) are controlled by the constitution. If you look at the constitution, you will see that the legislative branch has the longest section in the Constitution; a part larger than that of the president or the Supreme Court. Thus, it is in this body that the burning needs and wants of the people are intended to be discussed and protected. This shows us how important the parliament is to direct the government to do its duties in accordance with the constitution. It also shows us how we are supposed to be a nation of laws; not a nation in which presidents could have too much power to do whatever they want to do. But now our country transformed in to a system that the legislative bodies and the judiciary branch became executive institutions controlled and directed by the president..

Generally the responsibilities of the parliament are summarized in to the following functions: making laws or regulating all state laws; protecting the constitution from any sort of violations and misuses; making checks and balances to the executive and judicial branches; representing the electorate; helping to ensure that cabinet members, other government officials and supreme court judges appointed by the president are competent enough to hold the positions they have been nominated for, and confirm their appointments; overseeing or monitoring of the executive branch for ensuring that the executive branch is leading the country on the right direction; holding hearings and inquiries if they need to investigate how the executive branch is performing its duties; and by wielding the power of the executive and judiciary through impeachments when applicable. Similarly the legislative branch also plays other security, political and social agendas.

Apparently the framers of our constitution went to such great effort to create three branches government system was to establish independent legislative and judicial branches that would not be subject to retaliation by the executive branch; because of proposal rejection by the parliament or a decision made by the courts. The concept of the three branches government system did not mean that one branch-the executive can control the other two branches—the legislative and the judiciary. In our system the legislative branch is not accountable to the Executive branch; but it is the executive which is accountable to the legislature. The legislative branch can exercise its control over the executive through different instruments; that it can readily reject anything against the constitution or the national betterment that the executive branch or the President proposes.

Though it is fully equipped with these powerful Constitutional responsibilities, Somaliland legislative houses are now close to their lowest marginal legal ability to do its responsibilities in the policymaking process of the country. We can say the legislative bodies completely failed to do their role as the reassurance of checks & balances to the government; but instead acting as an executive institution under the directives of the president. The executive branch have been usurping the role of the legislative branch by dictating them to do what it wants to do and how it wants to be done. Then the executive branch has grown too powerful to influence and intervene the duties of the other two branches.

I believe that the people’s views, values and their livelihood development are represented by those whom they elect in the legislative branch and in the presidency; not the unelected officials appointed by the president even let be your brother. But the legislative branch became too selfish, useless and stupid by blindly approving whatever the executive branch brings in front of the two houses, even if it is selling some parts of the country, simply in exchange for money and personal benefits. Every member in the two houses of the legislative branch is representing only his own interest; that is the national sovereignty and national interest as such has no representatives in our legislative body.

It is the legislative branch that was formed to be the legal watchman of the national interest, the constitution and the betterment of the people and the country. But unfortunately instead of the foresaid legal responsibility, the duties of the two houses of parliament are over ruled by the presidency as if they are executive entities. In this situation of governing system, Somaliland will not go so far for so long. This one man rule system we are practicing now is riding our cart to a point of no return; if the people don’t unite to relocate the campus to its right direction before it become too late.

Though it is not in our theme of today, the judicial branch also became too dependent, doing things and decisions in accordance of what the executive branch needs; and we shall talk about the failures of that branch in a another article INSHA ALLAH.


Adam Ali Younis