Skip to content

Opinion: Of Somali lawmakers and a veritable obsession with Mooshinka

By Khadar Xussein Mohammad

The lexicon ‘motion’ has emerged as one of the most widely used words in Somalia so much that its banality connotes a failed bid by members of parliament.

School children now threaten their colleagues with a motion of no confidence as a sanction to keeping order or acceding to interests of any group.

But of interest is the very origin of this word. The Somali body politic is so awash with this term that if tally were to be taken of the parliamentary hansard, its appearance would be record breaking among world houses of parliament.

Its use has however earned the Somali Parliament, otherwise the House of the People a notoriety of some sort and ridicule. In local parlance, the word has been christened, mooshinka.

Consider this. An airliner, Daallo experienced a bomb attack which caused scare in Somalia and hit world headlines roping in the US Federal Bureau of Investigations, FBI with local intelligence agencies to investigate the matter. The militant group Al-Shabaab Saturday claimed responsibility for the bomb attack.

As a measure, though seen as a knee jerk reaction in some quarters, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud ordered that everyone including Federal MPs will have to undergo security checks at the country’s main airport, Aden Adde.

CCT TV footage

Intelligence authorities went ahead to release a Closed Circuit TV, CCTV footage showing the alleged suspects exchanging the laptop which would later be sneaked into the plane and subsequently exploding shortly after takeoff.

Even before the rest of the country could comprehend how the president’s decree would be made real, the favourite term, ‘motion’ had popped up from the lips of some 50 MPs. The lawmakers found another chance to bandy around the much hallowed term within Somalia’s political arena.

It was time to declare a motion of no confidence on the President for infringing on the privacy and rights of our very proud lawmakers. I bet they did not wait to study the import of the president’s decree nor share ideas with the president on how they could contribute to enhancing secuirity the airport.

No sooner had the president finished his brief to Parliament than a band of MPs rushed to file the motion of no confidence on the president. They accused him of setting a bad precedent, just another familiar phrase in stock.

Intelligence chief

In a bid to lend credence to the president’s call, Somali Intelligence chief Abdirahman Turyare, like any other passenger went through the checks at the airport, removing his belt and undergoing all the necessary checks.

Though the video which was posted online was mocked just as it was lauded, the message was clear- security checks should not be conducted discriminately.

But the MPs could have none of this. They were determined to go through the motions of passing a motion of no confidence on the country’s leader. Never mind the long drawn battle which ended in a waterloo last year after an impeachment motion against the president flopped following months of back forth tussle between the pro-impeachment lawmakers, the presidency, Speaker’s chambers and the law courts.

Somalia fell into a coup in 1969 thanks to misuse of power and authority by then lawmakers. With that act of political immaturity and reactionary politics, Somalia’s path to prosperity and membership to the community of nations was diminished. It has taken us close to half a century to reclaim out footing and for years a heavy price will still have to be paid, thanks to behaviour of our very lawmaking house.

Impulsive thinking

Even with all lessons to learn from a very brutal history, our lawmakers continue unabated with a culture of impulsive thinking and actions largely informed by aggrandisement.

It is not lost on any an observer of Somali politics that claims of money for votes is common day. Immediate former UN Special envoy Nicholas Kay unequivocally said some day he could not apologise for his allegations on the ‘brown envelop’ in parliament since it was unnecessary to substantiate the obvious.

As I pen this piece, reports indicate the lawmakers have so far dropped their bid for another mooshinka. I cannot ascertain the circumstances for the move but your guess could just be as good as mine.

Even the most balkanised of families take time to listen to their father before deciding the next course of action. But before our lawmakers can sit and reason, they will still have a field day with mooshinka.