Undemocratic Constitution: Amalgamating the Separation of Powers

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Absolutely, the democratization of a constitution without a clear separation of powers is indeed futile. Without this separation, the very essence of democracy is compromised, as it allows for the concentration of power in one branch of government, leading to authoritarian tendencies and undermining the checks and balances necessary for a healthy democratic system.

The separation of powers ensures that no single branch of government becomes too powerful or dominates the others. It allows for independent oversight, accountability, and the protection of citizens’ rights. Without it, there’s a risk of abuse of power, corruption, and erosion of democratic values.

Therefore, any efforts toward democratizing a constitution must include robust provisions for the separation of powers, as it forms the bedrock of a functioning democratic society.

Until now, President Dr. Hassan Mohamud and his vice, Prime Minister Mr. Hamze Barre, have made significant strides in amending the constitution for the betterment of Somalia. However, one crucial issue remains unaddressed: the removal of articles that impede the separation of powers.

Certain clauses in the Somali constitution permit legislators and judiciary officials to hold positions within the executive branch of government. In a democracy, the separation of powers is fundamental, ensuring that citizens elect their representatives in parliament and the presidency independently. It is antithetical to democratic principles for the legislative and judicial branches to be subservient to the executive.

In Somalia, some legislators hold high-ranking positions in the cabinet, while others occupy key roles in the security sector, including top positions in the police and intelligence. The situation worsens when judges consistently favor decisions made by senior executive officials.

Amending the constitution to enforce the separation of powers would be a significant milestone in the advancement of democratic governance. It would necessitate strict adherence to the distinct roles of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Without this, any changes to the constitution would perpetuate a dictatorial regime and undermine efforts toward democratization.

President Hassan and Prime Minister Hamze must take bold steps to ensure that the amended constitution includes provisions preventing employees and officials of the judiciary and legislature from holding executive positions. They must also have the courage to rectify any clauses in the Constitution that facilitate the intermingling of positions among the branches of government.

If the president and the prime minister focus solely on selective changes to the constitution, they risk being perceived as opportunistic leaders prioritizing their political interests over the crucial reforms needed for genuine democratic governance. They must address these pressing issues to establish a constitution that truly reflects the principles of democracy.

Dr. Said Mohamud (Sacim)
Chair of the Somali People’s Democratic Party

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