Somalia: Farmajo under pressure over delayed appointment of PM

MOGADISHU, Somalia – President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is once again under pressure over an unprecedented delay in the appointment of a material prime minister following the firing of Hassan Ali Khaire, who was unusually ousted from office by MPs in July under unclear circumstances.

Khaire, who rose to the position in 2017, remains the first person to serve in the office for more than three years, given that most of his predecessors dropped out of the regime months after taking on the responsibility. The former prime minister was credited with helping the country get debt relief.

According to reports, Khaire was kicked out after it emerged he was against plans to extend their term beyond November this year. In fact, he was the mastermind of the Dhusamareb Conference, which brought together federal government officials and leaders in the member states.

But the delay in his material compensation is now causing unrest among political elites, some of whom now accuse President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of playing delay tactics. Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Gulaid is currently serving in a functioning capacity.

Forum for national parties [FNP], a conglomerate of six opposition parties, on Tuesday called for a speedy process in the appointment of the prime minister, arguing that the delays could paralyze government operations. The Prime Minister is responsible for the government.

In a statement, the FNP said it sees “irresponsibility and dictatorship” that Somalia should be without a government for 53 days, adding that “the president was given absolute power, aiming to realize his personal interest”. All work done by the current cabinet, it said, is “unconditional and unusable”.

The acting prime minister, the opposition party said, did not have absolute powers to conduct government operations. The interim constitution stipulates that a new prime minister will form the government through the appointment of ministers who will help fulfill part of the agenda that the administration may have set.

After Khaire’s exit, Farmajo promised to ensure the appointment of the replacement happens “as soon as possible”. But since then, he has rarely talked about the vacuum with sources indicating that the clan matrices and the current political climate have required broader consultations before a final decision is made.

Once a person is nominated by the president to serve as prime minister, he or she is examined by the lower house before the president approves the final one. Currently, the lower house is under the leadership of Abdirahman Mursal under the control of Villa Somalia.

In addition to the delayed appointment of the Prime Minister, Somalia is currently embroiled in a political battle over the date and model for the forthcoming elections. However, the management is currently in talks in Mogadishu, where it is expected that they will reach an agreement.