Somalia: What does cabinet dissolution mean to President Hassan?

Somalia

By Abdirashid M. Dahir

“At the moment as Somalia is again at critical juncture, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud needs to rise to more vehement responsibilities and leave polarizing agendas aside for the urgently pressing issues at hand”.

Somalia Prime Minister-a career diplomat and former envoy to the United States- Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke formed controversial cabinet with President Mohamud’s allies at the forefront on January 12. Among the key aides in the cabinet were Justice Minister Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir, Minister for Interior Abdikarin Hussein Guled, National Security Minister Abdullahi Mohamed Ali (Sanbaloshe) and Finance Minister Hussein Abdi Halane.

The four are strongly counted amongst the powers behind the throne who co-manage day-to-day activities with Mohamud at the heavily fortified compound of Villa Somalia.

Overwhelming majority of MPs voiced opposition to the ministerial portfolios conferred to Abdulkadir, Guled, Sanbaloshe and Halane, exemplifying a move that dealt blow to the strategies devised by the President ahead of 2016 elections.

Moot Point

As a result of stiff resistance from MPs-mainly those who backed predecessor Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed during the latest impasse-Prime Minister Sharkmarke dissolved 59-member cabinet and requested two weeks more for review into the lineup last Saturday.

The four remain challenging moot point in Somalia’s political arena but it seems that the president himself is in full force campaign to replace them with other henchmen who could side with him in the face of another infighting.

Somalia is on the path to fragile recovery, yet President Mohamud and his allies are posing challenge to the country’s timetable towards first-ever democratic elections in 46 years by 2016.

Meanwhile, International community partners whose financial support is key to the plans going into overdrive are extremely dissatisfied with what is going on in Mogadishu where Al Shabaab terror group targets government officials and foreigners in broad day light attacks.

If truth be told, there are formidable tasks to be fast-tracked over the coming months but will Somalia meet 2016 benchmarks? Such questions have been matters in controversy at public places and lots of Somalis like me are as of today skeptical towards policies in the doldrums.

President Mohamud won’t be able to translate the key targets of vision2016 into action since he is waiting for faces of the forthcoming cabinet with bated breath.

Taking sticking issues into account, the recent dissolution meant many things to Mohamud as it was apparently a relapse into watershed moments that were experienced during the transitional period as well as over the course of his tenure of office.  

Neither group is really willing to come up with political cohesion, however opportunities need to be seized skillfully sooner than later. Well, the last resort backfired and it means that Prime Minister reached point of no return and the President for the second time wants to consolidate his grip on power before things get out of hand.  

What’s next for Mohamud?

After the cabinet dissolution, obviously many questions beset the President over how can you get the show on the road and appease donors?

Mogadishu-based central government has not set up Electoral Commission much less push ahead with the registration of political associations and voters. 

At the moment As Somalia is at critical juncture, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud needs to rise to more vehement responsibilities and leave polarizing agendas aside for the urgently pressing issues at hand. Of course Abdulkadir will return to a ministerial post as State Minister for Presidency but the three others are likely to stay influential as has been the case.

Before anything else, Mohamud is expected to abandon exerting influence over the tried and trusted head of government and lay confidence in the work of the choices in the next cabinet.

Somalia can’t afford disunity figure and 275-seat-chamber of parliament in political bang but instead it is keen on more compromising politicians.

Abdirashid M. Dahir is a Somali writer. Follow him on twitter @SomaliaJunkie

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