MOGADISHU (HMC) – Inside Somalia’s parliament headquarters, more than 142 lawmakers sit and chitchat, awaiting for the day’s session to open, however, the more time passes the more seats get emptied.
Perplexed by the disappearances, the parliament’s chair checks records, head counting those present at the meeting and threw off one question: We have 42 missing in in attendance, where are they?
It’s a mystery story which remained unsolved for years. According to the deputy speaker Jeylani Ikar it’s a daily occurrence for MPs come over, sign the attendance book and disappear.
Frustrated by the finding, Mr. Ikar turns to the parliament’s secretariat who apparently failed to record the absenteeism which he said amounts to workplace abuse.
“This is unacceptable – it really hurts a lot.” Mr. Ikar told the legislators at the meeting.
Controlling excessive employees’ absenteeism and Spot check attendance issues are major problems in the Somali parliament as the non-attendance and taking an extra time off seems to be establishing patterns of abuse by lawmakers, according to officials.
The parliament’s speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman has earlier warned of pay cuts or without monthly pay to punish the lawmakers skipping sessions.
“We are running out of patience.” He warned.
Its a complicated issue of which officials say may not be solved sooner than later as some MPs in attendance sign attendance sheets on behalf of their absent colleagues.
According to Mohamed Ali, an employment expert, the government’s weak employment system helps the latter to continue, calling for establishing digital attendance records including sign-in sheets, time clocks, or time sheets that employees hand in at given periods.