Posted on November 30, 2022

Migrant Politician Has Rocky Start in Italian Parliament

Crispian Balmer, Reuters, November 24, 2022

Italy’s only Black lawmaker suspended himself from his left-wing party on Thursday after his family was accused of mismanaging funds and exploiting staff at two associations meant to help immigrants.

The growing scandal has dealt a severe political blow to Aboubakar Soumahoro, Italy’s best-known activist for migrants’ rights who only entered parliament last month after winning a seat in a national election for his Green and Left party.


Magistrates are looking into accusations that their cooperatives failed to pay workers, gave irregular contracts to staff, issued false invoices and mistreated migrants placed in their care.

“I wouldn’t have put dogs in that centre,” Elena Fattori, a former Green and Left lawmaker, said after visiting one of the residencies {snip}

Born in the Ivory Coast, Soumahoro slept rough when he came to Italy as a migrant in 1999. {snip}

His profile rose still further when he was elected to parliament in September, entering the chamber on his first day as a lawmaker wearing muddy Wellington boots, saying they were “a symbol of the suffering and hopes of the real Italy”.