Somalia: Farmajo under pressure over delayed appointment of PM
MOGADISHU, Somalia - President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo is yet again under pressure over unprecedented delay in the appointment of a substantive Prime Minister, following the sacking of Hassan Ali Khaire, who was unceremoniously hounded from office by MPs in July under unclear circumstances.
Khaire, who ascended 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 fell out with the regime months after assuming responsibilities. The former PM was credited for helping the country get debt relief.
According to reports, Khaire was kicked out after it emerged that he was against plans to have their term extended beyond November this year. In fact, he was the mastermind of the Dhusamareb conference, which brought together the Federal Government officials and leaders of member states.
But the delay of his substantive replacement is now causing jitters from among political elites, some who are now accusing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo of playing delay tactics. Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Gulaid is currently serving in an acting capacity.
The Forum for National Parties [FNP], a conglomerate of six opposition parties, on Tuesday, called for an expedited process in the appointment of the Prime Minister, arguing that the delays could paralyze government operations. The Prime Minister is responsible for the running of the government.
In a statement, FNP said it sees "irresponsibility and dictatorship" that Somalia to be without a government for 53 days, adding that "the president got absolute power, aims to realize his personal interest". All work is done by the current cabinet, it said, is "unconditional and inapplicable".
The caretaker PM, the opposition party said, does not have absolute powers to run the government operations. The provisional constitution provides that a new Prime Minister forms government through the appointment of ministers who help to fulfill some of the agenda the administration may have set.
After Khaire's exit, Farmajo promised to ensure the appointment of the replacement is done "soonest". But since then, he has rarely spoken about the void, with sources indicating that the clan matrixes and the current political climate have necessitated wider consultations before a final decision is made.
Once a person is nominated by the president to serve as Prime Minister, he or she is vetted by the Lower House before the president makes final approval. Currently, the Lower House under the leadership of Abdirahman Mursal is under the control of Villa Somalia.
Besides the delayed appointment of the Prime Minister, Somalia is currently embroiled in a political tussle over the date and model for upcoming elections. However, the leadership is currently having talks in Mogadishu where it is anticipated that they will strike a deal.