Impeachment of Somalia’s president probably unsuccessful, opposition to security handover growing and port contracts face renegotiation risk

13 December 2018

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) shakes hands with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed at Vahdettin Mansion in Istanbul on 23 November. Impeachment of Mohamed would put Turkish port management contracts in Somalia at risk of renegotiation. Source: Kayhan Ozer/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Key Points

  • President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is unlikely to be unseated by the impeachment motion, which is backed by members of Somalia’s parliament drawn from the Hawiye and Issaq clans, as it has already been rejected by the parliamentary clerk.
  • However, the Federal Government of Somalia’s likely handling of upcoming regional elections and a territorial dispute in the northeast indicate that parliamentary opposition will expand to other major clans, so will approach the two-thirds majority that, in principle, is necessary to remove the president.
  • Even if President Mohamed is not removed from office, the semi-autofocus regional states will increasingly oppose the federal government. This would delay and weaken the effectiveness of a proposed transition of security responsibilities from African Union peacekeeping forces (AMISOM) to the Somali National Army (SNA), while also exacerbate conflicts over regulatory and tax powers, and expose Turkish-managed airport and marine port contracts to cancellation or renegotiation.


One-third of Somalia’s parliamentarians on 9 December submitted an impeachment motion against President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed – the second during his first term in office. The motion was rejected by the parliamentary clerk. However, the government’s handling of regional elections and territorial disputes will probably undermine transitioning security responsibilities to government forces.

Ninety-two members of Somalia’s federal parliament (MPs) on 9 December submitted an impeachment motion to remove President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed – the second motion since Mohamed was elected in February 2017. MPs accused President Mohamed of breaching the constitution by signing security and economic co-operation agreements with Ethiopia and Eritrea without parliamentary scrutiny.

The impeachment motion was rejected on 11 December after the parliamentary clerk said that 14 MPs’ signatures were invalid. This resulted on 12 December in the speaker of parliament, Mohamed Mursal Abdirahman, vacating his office in protest. The speaker is responsible for deciding whether to table the motion before parliament.

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