Somalia's new Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke will hold his first cabinet
meeting tomorrow (Saturday) after relocating from Djibouti to the capital,
Mogadishu. On his arrival the new prime minister demanded an end to the
escalating violence that has so far left over 80 people dead and scores
injured. Sharmake said his government's top priority will be to improve the
security situation in the country as well as redouble reconciliation efforts
with opposition groups. The new prime minister who returned to the capital
Mogadishu yesterday (Thursday) for the first time in decades called for a
dialogue with Islamic hard line groups, including al-Shabaab to end the
escalating violence. Abdirashid Irro is the minister for Commerce in the new
cabinet. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that the new government is hopeful of
improving the unstable situation in the country.
came here to start our business as a government and as a council of ministers
and our first meeting will start on Saturday. And hopefully the prime minster
will bring the agenda, but our vision is that we came here to start a dialogue
and reconciliation and continue the peace process with our opposition. We will
open dialogue with the opposition inside Somalia and outside the country," Irro noted.
He said the government would
also rebuild state institutions to make them more effective.
"We will also make a
capacity, building of institutions like the police, judiciary, and prisons and
so on. So, we are really very hopeful that we will improve the situation," he
Irro said there was need to
hold discussions with those strongly opposed to the new administration in order
to chart a new course.
"It is very important and
very essential that we will continue the dialogue and discussions with our
oppositions and we will like to accommodate every Somali citizen, and we will
like to invite them to join the pace process. As a government if someone
decides not to be part of the peace process and start trying to destroy it we
have our armed forces and we will defend ourselves and the rights of our
people," Irro pointed out.
He welcomed the news that
some of the hard line groups have accepted to end the fighting in the capital,
"Really some of them who
were fighting yesterday have accepted to stop the fighting and join the peace
process. But I know that still there are people out there like al-Shabaab who
are against our government and they will like to continue the fighting. But as
a government we are still inviting them to join the peace process. You know
Somalia has been a failed state for the last 19 years and the people are
exhausted of the violence and so we will like to tell the fighters that they
should stop the fighting and the bloodshed," he said.
Irro said the new unity
government would want the participation of all Somalis.
"Our government will want to
turn the previous conflict into cooperation and we will also like to recruit
our security forces and we will like to make our public financing like
addressing corruption. We will also like to be self- dependent and ensure
everybody that we will change the previous behavior of the failed policies of
the previous TFG (Transitional Federal Government). We will like to be one team
of one nation of one leadership," Irro pointed out.
He said the new government
needs the cooperation of all Somalis in its effort to rebuild the country after
over 18 years of ineffective government.
"Our message is that as a
government we cannot do anything unless we get the support from the ordinary
people. So we are requesting all the Somali citizens wherever they are that
they will support the government and that they will support the peace process
and to take part in the reconstruction of their country," he said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shermarke, who was recently picked by
President Sheikh Sharif Sheik Ahmed two weeks ago, arrived in the Somali
capital amid tight security by African Union peacekeepers and government forces
after deadly fighting with insurgent fighters in the past two days. The clashes
left at least 15 civilians dead and scores seriously injured.
The Somali government is
relocating back to Mogadishu after the election of the new president and the
appointment of his prime minister in neighboring Djibouti where Somali
legislative body had been holding its sessions after Baidoa, the parliament
seat, was recently captured by radical Islamic hard line group al-Shabaab.
Described by Washington, as
a terrorist organization, al- Shabaab has refused to recognize the new
administration vowing to eventually take over the country and implement the
But some Somali parliamentarians
have voiced their strong opposition to the relocation, contending that both the
president and the prime minister would be putting themselves in danger after
recent attacks by Islamic insurgents who promised more attacks on the new
government, which they describe as puppet of western countries.