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New Somali Prime Minister's "Experience" Praised by Analyst

Abdiweli Mohamed Aligas of New York's Niagara University says Prime Minister Mohamed's experience will him deal with Somalia's many problems

Newly appointed Somalia Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed
Newly appointed Somalia Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed

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James Butty

Somalia's President, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, has appointed Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as the country's new prime minister.

Thursday's announcement comes just weeks after the previous prime minster, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake, resigned after a long running political feud with President Ahmed.

Abdiweli Mohamed Aligas, professor of economics at Niagara University in Buffalo, New York, told VOA the new prime minister’s experience should enable him to handle Somalia’s many problems.

“The Prime Minister, Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, has experience in the Somali government. He worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somalia before the collapse of the state in 1991 January. He worked at the embassy in Washington, where he was the First Secretary. So, he has experience in administration,” he said.

Aligas said the new prime minister is also well versed in the protocols of what he called classical democracies like the United States.

He said Mohamed also worked as Commissioner for Equal Employment at the New York State Department of Transportation in Buffalo where he also lived prior to his appointment.

If he is confirmed by the Somali parliament, Mohamed would be the fourth prime minister since Somalia’s Federal Transitional Government came into being.

Aligas said, while a single individual may not be able to solve all of Somalia’s problems, the 48-year-old Mohamed has the right demeanor to make a difference

“One individual cannot change a lot, but the question is does he have the demeanor, the experience to at least contribute and change the government in ways that will be more amenable to the liking of donors. So, in terms of change in the situation on the ground, he can contribute, but also he will need a lot of help from so many different areas,” Aligas said.

Somalia has not had a functioning central government since 1991.

The U.N.-backed government is struggling to survive in the face of a fierce insurgency from Islamic militant groups, who control most of Mogadishu and southern Somalia.

Somali insurgents
Somali insurgents

Aligas said, while the new prime minister, whom he described as a ‘good Muslim,’ may not able to defeat the Islamic militants like al-Shabab, he can contribute in neutralizing them.

“The question is not whether they (al-Shabab) will accept him, but the question is will he be able to deal with them, and with the help from the Somali community and the international community will he be able to neutralize them. That’s the question, and I think he will be able to do that,” Professor Aligas said.

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