Farmajo summons security chiefs at Villa Somalia days after PM Khaire's dethronement
MOGADISHU, Somalia - A National Security meeting chaired by President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was held on Tuesday evening at Villa Somalia, just days after the ouster of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, whose removal attracted retribution from the international community and several opposition leaders.
Khaire was kicked out by MPs in a stormy parliamentary session on Saturday, which President Farmajo denied responsibility, but welcomed the outcome arguing that the move could be a solution for persistent wrangles between the executive and legislature.
Sources privy to the emergency security meeting at Villa Somalia say that all senior security chiefs attended the meeting, with the current political development dominating the debate, but it's not clear what the country's leadership discussed or agreed on.
Khaire's ouster came as a surprise to the international community given that he was instrumental in brokering a deal between the federal government of Somalia and member states in Dhusamareb last week. The teams agreed to form a committee that would come up with an appropriate proposal on the electoral model for upcoming elections.
Sources told Garowe Online that among those present at the Villa Somalia meeting were Army chief Gen. Yusuf Rageh Odawaa, the police commissioner, and the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA] boss Fahad Yasin, a controversial figure within Somalia's internal politics.
The meeting, reports indicate, was set to put measures of ensuring the country remains peaceful despite the changes, which have angered a sizeable population in Somalia. The president had appointed Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Gulaid on a caretaker basis, and a substantive appointment will be made in a month's time.
"HE Farmaajo names DPM Hon. Mahdi Gulaid Caretaker PM of the FGS to continue the government agenda as stipulated in the Provisional Constitution until the nomination of a permanent PM. The Pres. assures the nation the coordination of timely, well agreed upon and credible polls," Abdinur Mohamed, Villa Somalia spokesperson had said.
Some reports also indicate that Farmajo held a meeting with Galmadug President Ahmed Abdi Kariye, which was also attended by the spy chief Fahad Yasin, for the better part of Tuesday before he met the entire security team. Kariye is in Mogadishu in a "working" visit.
Kariye, who won the regional presidency in Galmadug with the close support of Villa Somalia, is said to be lobbying for someone from the central region to take over from Khaire. According to reports, he wants Galmadug rewarded with the seat as a reward for traditional support it has been giving President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
The model for elections in Somalia has been a thorny issue forcing the regional leaders to hold a consultative meeting with Farmajo last week. While Villa Somalia is said to be supporting one-person-one-vote elections, regional leaders and the opposition want a compromise due to time constraints.
But despite claims that he wants a universal suffrage election which could force the country to have a term extension negotiations, Farmajo maintains that he's yet to settle on the model, adding that he wants to leave behind a good legacy.
"I've never tried to influence the Election Model or communicate with any Electoral official. I fulfilled my constitutional mandate when I received the passed bill. I have never had any preferred model. All I want is to leave a legacy of democracy and Stability," he said.
Security chiefs have often been accused of aiding the regime to met violence on the opposition and civilian, a claim which Villa Somalia has often denied. For instance, Fahad Yasin has often been linked to controversial political decisions in Somalia.
Farmajo's term ends in November this year and he's expressed intentions to defend his seat. Besides the electoral model, the local political players are yet to settle on the representations for Banadir and Somaliland regions in the Lower House and Senate.