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Somalia's PM-designate holds with MPs head of parliament approval

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - The newly nominated Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble on Sunday met Federal MPs, just three days after President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo unveiled him, pending approval by the Lower House, which is constitutionally mandated to vet him before taking office.

Although it's not clear what he told MPs, Roble was pictured with dozens of them, who will formally authorize his appointment in coming weeks. The name will be submitted to the House in coming weeks by the relevant committee, upon which he will be interrogated.

Lower House is accused of being firmly supporting President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, and his relationship with the House leadership has often been questioned, with critics accusing of collaborating with Speaker Mohamed Mursal to mutilate the constitution through approval of deals irregularly.

Analysts insist the Roble, an engineer by profession who worked with the International Labour Organization before his nomination, would sail through in parliament due to Farmajo's grip on the House. He comes from Galmadug state in Central Somalia.

He will replace Hassan Ali Khaire, who was impeached by MPs over what sources said was a rivalry with Farmajo over upcoming elections. Already, Khaire has announced his candidature for the February 2021 polls, which would see former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud fronting either on FNP ticket.

At the meeting in Mogadishu, Roble was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohamed Guled, who served as caretaker PM for nearly 2 months days. Guled is also a close ally of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, whose tenure elapses next year February, but has since expressed a desire for re-election.

The country brokered a pre-election deal following pressure from a number of international players last week. The deal provides that the country holds elections from November, which would see 101 delegates per constituency participating in the polls, which would be supervised at the constituency level.

Dubbed Constituency Caucus, the model has since been backed by stakeholders. But Roble now wants Parliament, whose tenure expires in two months, to expedite the approval process, adding that any delay could further plunge the country into an unprecedented crisis.

Mohamed Hussein Roble had on Sunday thanked Farmajo for nominating him to the position, pending approval by the Lower House. Roble, an engineer by profession, will replace Hassan Ali Khaire, who was hounded from office in July by MPs.

He said: "I wish to thank the president for giving me an opportunity to serve the people of Somalia. It's a step that I'll forever cherish. I will now move with speed to seek confidence from among MPs who have the mandate to vet and approve my appointment."

The country has traditionally used the clan-based model which is popularly known as 4.5. This system gives immense powers to elders in choosing of MPs but the new model that will be approved by Lower House is an improved version given that other stakeholders will also participate.

For years now, the international community has worked hard to ensure the war-torn nation has a functional government which is globally acknowledged. Farmajo is facing stiff competition from Warsame, Khaire and former Presidents Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.