Somalia's PM appoints spy agent as identification manager
MOGADISHU, Somalia - An official with National Intelligence and Security Agency [NISA] was on Monday appointed as the new manager of the National Identification Authority, an agency that handles the registration of persons in the Horn of Africa nation.
Mukhtar Hussein Qoransay was appointed by PM Hassan Ali Khaire and is set to streamline operations in the critical department, which has been struggling to stamp its authority in the last three decades due to lack of robust registration schemes in Somalia.
In a Twitter post, Khaire said the agent will assume office immediately but did not mention if he was relieved of his duties as an intelligence operative, an agency that is in charge of security in the country. In other countries, registration of personal office is domiciled at internal security offices.
"Mukhtar Hussein Qoransay will be serving as the manager of the National Identification Authority. He will assume the responsibilities immediately," the PM said without elaborating whether he was competitively sourced from a pool of other applicants who might have applied.
There are reports that the officer left NISA on secondment, meaning that he can still go back to his former station should he decide to quit. The administration of Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has been installing NISA officials in key government departments since 2018.
His appointment comes at the time the country is expected to roll out mass registration of voters across the country. To register as a voter, one must be a bona-fide citizen hence must have a national identification card which is a primary document that is used to confirm one's nationality.
The country is aiming to have thousands of adults registered as voters after the National Independent Electoral Commission [NIEC] maintained that it will conduct one-person-one-vote elections earliest in March next year after mass registration of voters across the nation.
Should it get resources, NIEC boss Halima Ismael added, the commission would conduct biometric elections five months later, but both suggestions have been rejected by the opposition and federal member states, who insist that a consensus must be reached for a timely election.
On Wednesday, federal states would meet for the first time in Dhusamareb, the regional administrative capital of Galmadug under the stewardship of Ahmed Kariye alias QoorQoor, but the federal government of Somalia is yet to confirm attendance.
Mukhtar's appointment might also elicit sharp criticism from the opposition and federal states' leadership, who have been critical of the central government. NISA has been on spot from the two entities, who accuse its Lea Fahad Yasin of "misusing" the agency by protecting "ills" committed by the current administration.
Yasin, the Forum for National Parties [FNP], a conglomerate of six opposition parties, recently called for his ouster, accusing him of working closely with Al-Shabaab militants to antagonize critics of the current administration. The federal government refuted the claims.
The intelligence agency is also blamed for engineering deployment of the Somali National Army [SNA] to sections of Gedo, a region under Jubaland where Farmajo is reportedly keen to establish a parallel administration. NISA operatives have also been facing criticism over alleged harassment and intimidation of journalists in Somalia.