EDITORIAL | The delays in the appointment and the subsequent approval of a new Prime Minister of Somalia are an issue that should be addressed.
More than a month after Hassan Khaire was ousted in a controversial no-confidence motion, President Mohamed Farmaajo has not come out to appoint his successor. Instead, the country has been run under the functioning capacity of Mahdi Gulaid as interim prime minister since July.
The problem with this event is not that Mr. Guled is incompetent or lacks the know-how to perform the job. The father is in his legal position. For example, what can he or can he not do as acting Prime Minister? Under the Somali Interim Constitution, the Prime Minister, appointed by the President, is the Head of Government. He has the power to “appoint and dismiss members of the Council of Ministers” as well as to present names in the Council and other government programs to Parliament [Lower House] for approvals.
Since neither Mr. Guled or his acting Council of Ministers has received any of these legal shields, running Somalia technically under a ‘caretaker’ government. Guled can not appoint a new cabinet, he can not fire any member of the Council of Ministers. His position makes him, and his acting council, lamb, or simply a ceremonial head of government under the grace of the president.
That is why we want to ask the President to take a decisive step. We could either have Mr. Guled formally nominated to Parliament to verify his credentials and hopefully approve him. Or we could have someone else, a competent Somali national, who can do the job.
Somalia’s moment will be more risky as long as no material prime minister is appointed as soon as possible. But first, it reproduces the accusations against Mr. The irony of Khaire and his failure. Khaire was accused of having stopped the electoral program, including having provided resources to obtain the originally expected person a vote.
A recent agreement in Dhusamareb between President Farmaajo and federal state presidents in Hirshabelle, Southwest, Galmudug and the mayor of Benadir, said the next election in Somalia will be under constituencies.
These election meetings must be appointed by electoral bodies. While Parliament will have to discuss the proposal and hopefully approve it, the absence of a Prime Minister may raise fears that the planning of the election may still be delayed. The Prime Minister must ensure that sufficient resources are provided to the Electoral Commission. But he’s not there.
Which brings us to the second problem. Grapevine has had it that the president has deliberately delayed the PM appointment so he can do political horse-trading with it. When Khaire issued a warning about the likelihood of a delayed election toppling Somalia in a crisis, President Farmaajo immediately assured that there would be no delays.
Now that he’s gone, they’s unlikely to read from the same manuscript. But it would be unwise to use the Prime Minister’s post as a political chess piece. Somalis wanted universal suffrage, which will not happen. They also wanted a timely free and fair choice. This should not be a big requirement; given they already fell from the sun to the moon.
The President, of course, has every right to appoint any Somali national to serve as any function. He also has the right to negotiate appointments with any political wing, opposition orally. But postponing the appointment and using it for personal ambitions would be a disservice to the country.
When Khaire was thrown out in record time, under ten minutes, without a proper move or an order paper; critics accused it may have been illegal. But the president immediately accepted the decision. We hope he can use the same haste to replace him.