PM Roble to Farmaajo: I am not going anywhere, your term expired
MOGADISHU, Somalia | The power struggle between outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble have culminated in sharp differences in what could now sabotage elections of the Lower House and presidential polls.
It all started with the demise of Ikran Tahlil Farah, a spy agent. She worked with the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA], which triggered PM Roble to reorganize the institution by firing Fahad Yasin, a close ally of Farmaajo.
But the move seemed to have irked Farmaajo, who also had his decree to form a Commission of Inquiry towards the death rejected by PM Roble and the family. Efforts to reconcile the two entities have proved futile as Roble insisted that Military Court will investigate the death.
In a tough-worded statement on Thursday, PM Roble dismissed decision by Farmaajo to suspend his powers, arguing that the president's mandate expired on Feb 8. The PM said "The president is in four years, ended on February 8 of this year".
Further, he insisted the move by the president violates the constitution of the federal republic of Somalia, adding that he will continue executing his responsibilities. He identified a number of incidents where the president has "blatantly" overstepped his mandate.
"The letter issued by the President titled “suspension of the powers of the Prime Minister promoting elections” clearly violates the Provisional Constitution and it falsely misinterprets articles 87 and 90 of the constitution as they do not mention any interference of the president in constitutional powers of the Prime Minister and his Government," read the statement.
"Therefore, based on the Supremacy of the Constitution, the Prime Minister, referring to article 4 paragraph 1 of the Provisional Constitution that dictates the Government to accept only decisions in accordance to the Constitution, hereby declares that the unconstitutional letter issued by the President is null and void, and will not be complied with."
A furious Farmaajo had suspended the powers of the PM in what pundits relate to the investigations towards Tahlil's death. Further, there are concerns that Farmaajo wants to regain security powers to "manipulate" presidential polls.
"Since the Prime Minister of the FGS has violated the Provisional Constitution, the powers of the Prime Minister and all correspondence related to dismissals or appointments have been frozen until the completion of the country’s elections by the named Independent Commissions," Farmaajo statement read.
Already, the PM has received backing from a number of stakeholders, including presidential candidates, who termed Farmaajo's move unconstitutional. The candidates insist that Roble acted within his powers and deserves "our support".
"Today's letter from Farmaajo is not serving the interest of the country and is a setback to the efforts of holding smooth elections," said former PM Hassan Ali Khaire. "The statement from the outgoing President's office suspending PM's powers is a setback and a disgrace to our fledgling government and the process of re-strengthening our institutions."
"Let alone Farmajo has been without mandate for 7 months, even with a mandate, there is no provision in the Constitution gives him any power to relieve a prime minister of his position or suspend his authority. Article 103 of the Constitution gives PM the powers of a caretaker," added Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, the leader of Wadajir party.
The United Kingdom has now asked United Nations Security Council to convene an urgent sitting to discuss the current political turmoil in Somalia. The UN has previously insisted that elections which be held in compliance with the may 27 agreement.
Ironically, the standoff comes at the time the country is holding elections, which will define the destiny of the nation in the next four years. The Lower House polls are supposed to kick off next month with presidential elections also slated for December.