January 24, 2022

In Somalia, the president suspends his prime minister whom he accuses of corruption

In the aftermath of a public dispute over the elections, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed announced on Monday (December 27th) that he was suspending the prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, in this unstable country in the Horn of Africa. .

“The president has decided to suspend the prime minister, Mohamed Hussein Roble, and to end his powers as soon as he is linked to corruption”, the president’s office said in a statement, accusing the prime minister of interfering in an investigation into a land grabbing case.

Mr. Roble immediately reacted by accusing the head of state of seeking to “Seize the power of the Prime Minister by force with a measure that violates the Constitution and the law of the land”. ” The Prime Minister (…) is determined not to be dissuaded from fulfilling its duties towards the nation in order to lead the country to elections which prepare for a peaceful handover ”, affirms a statement published by the office of the head of government.

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“Undermine the electoral process at its crucial stage”

Tensions between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, says Farmaajo, and his prime minister are recurrent. Sunday, the Prime Minister had already accused the president of sabotaging the electoral process, after the decision of the Head of State to withdraw from him the charge of organizing the elections, long awaited and at the origin of a serious institutional crisis.

Mr. Roble had thus underlined that the Head of State did not want to organize “Credible elections” in the country. On Saturday evening, the president announced in a statement that ” the Prime Minister [avait] failed in its duty to conduct an election based on the agreement of September 17, 2020 ”, about this agreement signed more than fifteen months ago and which was to serve as a guideline for the ballot.

The president called for a consultative conference, bringing together the federal government, the Somali states and the authorities of the capital Mogadishu, to designate “A competent manager” which carries out the electoral process, which includes the election of representatives of the upper and lower houses of parliament as well as that of the president.

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In a statement released on Sunday, Roble said “This statement was deliberately aimed at undermining the electoral process at its crucial stage”. This decision came a few hours after the dismissal of the chairman of the electoral commission, which the latter contested.

Term extended for two years

President since 2017, Farmaajo saw his term expire on February 8 without being able to agree with regional leaders on the organization of elections, governed in Somalia by a complex and indirect electoral system. The announcement in mid-April of the extension of his mandate for two years had provoked armed clashes in Mogadishu.

In a gesture of appeasement, Farmaajo tasked Mr. Roble with organizing the elections. But in the months that followed, tensions between the two men continued and their standoff culminated on September 16 with the announcement by the head of state of the suspension of the executive powers of the prime minister, a decision rejected. by the latter.

Farmaajo and Mr Roble finally agreed to bury the hatchet at the end of October, issuing a joint call to speed up the electoral process. Elections for the upper house have concluded in all states except Galmudug, and votes began in early November for the lower house. But the appointment of a president, some ten months after the end of Farmaajo’s mandate, still seems a long way off.

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On Sunday, the United States said it was “Deeply concerned about the persistent delays and procedural irregularities which undermine the credibility of the electoral process”. Many observers believe that the crisis at the top of the state and the electoral stalemate are distracting attention from more important issues in Somalia, such as the Chabab insurgency that has rocked the country since 2007. Although ousted from Mogadishu by The force of the African Union (Amisom) in 2011, the Chabab control vast rural areas and carry out regular attacks in the capital.

The World with AFP