Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf has described attempts by some members of parliament who began the process to remove him from power as illegal and an affront to the rule of law. The impeachment move comes after President Yusuf fired Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein over the weekend, drawing sharp criticism from the United States. Washington said the prime minister's removal critically undermines efforts to promote peace and stability in the region. President Yusuf fired Prime Minister Hussein unilaterally after months of public disagreements over the best way to bring peace in Somalia. But parliament rejected Yusuf's decision and voted to keep the prime minister. President Yusuf, however, dismissed parliament's vote as illegal, claiming that he has the right to appoint a new prime minister. Abdalla Haji Ali is a Somali parliamentarian. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Baidoa that President Yusuf is the stumbling block to the Somali peace process.
"My reaction to the statement of the president is that he is actually the roadblock or the problem to the peace process in Somalia which is taking place in Djibouti. In fact, all the efforts that are being made for the last two, three, four months were directed at stopping the peace process. And he (Yusuf) accuses the prime minister of not helping the peace process and the reconciliation process. But I think he (Yusuf) wanted to subvert the constitution, hamper the peace process, and actually remain in power if the peace process doesn't go anywhere, believing that he was going to remain in power," Ali pointed out.
He said public opinion polls support the move of parliamentarians to remove President Yusuf from power.
"In fact, it is not that we believe, but it is really that we have conducted surveys in the political circles and also we conducted opinion polls among the public. And we actually realized that if we remove the president, the Somali problem would actually be solved by itself," he said.
Ali reiterated that removing President Yusuf from power is the best for the Somali crisis.
"By removing President Yusuf from power, about 60 percent of the Somali problems would be solved. But by leaving him in power, it would actually increase or exacerbate the problem," Ali noted.
He dismissed as bluffing President Yusuf's claim that he could not be impeached before Somalia's attorney general investigated the allegations against him.
"We have a process of impeachment and we are going to refer to the 1960 constitution because in article seven of this new national charter, it stipulates that anything that is not addressed or stipulated in the charter should be referred to the 1960 constitution. And in that constitution, it stipulates that the parliament actually appoints a special court for the impeachment of the president. In the instance that it happens, two of the justices of the court would come from parliament and two other justices would be appointed outside of parliament. They would investigate and direct the impeachment process," he said.
Ali said there are a lot of parliamentarians who are backing the impeachment proceedings despite President Yusuf's contrary claims.
"Let the president say what he feels like saying. But you know, we have a charter, and we have very clear articles in the charter that gives the authority or the power to the parliament to actually indict him or impeach him and remove his from power," Ali pointed out.