News / Africa

Future of Somali Government in Doubt as Cabinet Debate Stalls

Somali lawmakers raise their hands during a confidence vote in Mogadishu (file photo - 31Oct. 2010)
Somali lawmakers raise their hands during a confidence vote in Mogadishu (file photo - 31Oct. 2010)

Multimedia

Audio
Michael Onyiego

Procedural bickering has once again thrown the Somali parliament into a deadlock. With less than one year left on its mandate, the approval of the proposed cabinet as well as the future of the transitional government is in doubt.

Less than one month after being approved by the Somali Parliament, Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed is now facing stiff political opposition in his race to rebuild the country's shattered government.

Just two weeks ago, Mohamed announced his chosen cabinet members, a pared down list of technocrats drawing heavily from the Somali diaspora. The group, which was cut down to 18 ministers from the previous 39 positions, was widely praised as a competent and promising team to move Somalia forward.

But hopes for Mohamed's tenure as prime minister took a blow Monday after parliament failed to approve his new cabinet. Mirroring the initial vote to approve the premier weeks ago, Monday's session ended in a shouting match over whether the ballot would be cast openly or in secret.

According to reports, fist fights even broke out among the 550-member body, prompting Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden to postpone the vote indefinitely.

Since being appointed by President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has repeatedly insisted he would form a government based on experience, signaling a departure from the clan politics that have previously dominated the war-torn state.

Somalia's Transitional Federal Government has operated under the "4.5 System" designed to share power equally among the country's four major clans and a coalition of minor groups.

Mohamed's departure from 4.5 has been praised in some circles, but has received a raft of criticism from many in the Somali parliament, who believe the balance is critical to the government's legitimacy.

But Qatar University Somali Analyst Afyare Elmi says such complaints are simply designed to mask vested interests in corruption.
"There is no legitimate issue they have against the cabinet," Elmi said. "The problem here is that there are groups of politicians in Somalia that are benefiting from the status quo and they are trying to perpetuate and sustain the status quo. They cannot let a change of this magnitude take place at this stage."

According to Elmi, the group chosen by Mohamed is the best cabinet that has ever been named in Somalia. He told VOA it was the best chance the transitional government had to fulfill its mandate before it expires in August of next year.

It seems many in Somalia agree.

Shortly after Monday's session ended, Mogadishu residents gathered to show support for the Prime Minister. The crowd called on the Somali Parliament to return and quickly approve the appointed ministers.

For many observers, the deadlocked Somali parliament is another step towards the inevitable collapse of the transitional government. Since forming in 2004 in neighboring Kenya, the administration has been plagued by internal differences, clan opposition and ineptitude.

The president spent much of the last few months engaged in a power struggle with former Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, which shutdown the government until Sharmarke's resignation in September. Analysts believe a similar rift is now developing between the President and Speaker Aden.

With under 10 months left for the government to deliver a new constitution and national elections, fears are mounting that the failure of Mohamed's cabinet could lead to the collapse of the government.

But according to Elmi, the situation presents a "win-win" scenario for the prime minister.

"If they are approved, they can do something about corruption and most obviously this will have a significant and deep impact on Somalia's political system," Elmi added. "If it does not get the approval, the whole TFG might come to an end and a new thing can be established which would be much better than what we have right now."

With time running out, Elmi told VOA it was unlikely that President Ahmed would be moved by parliament to find a new prime minister, making cabinet approval all the more likely.

The international community, which helped create Somali government in 2004, is also on Mohamed's side. In a communiqué issued Tuesday, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development also called on the Parliament to swiftly approve the new cabinet and fulfill the transitional mandate.

Somalia has been without a functioning government since the ouster of dictator Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991. The transitional government is currently battling Islamic insurgents such as al Shabab, which controls much of southern Somalia, including parts of the capital, Mogadishu.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid