News / Africa

Somali Government Future Clouded As Mandate Nears Expiration

Somali president Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed (2nd L) comes to see where police displayed the bodies of four al-Shabab fighters killed during fighting in Mogadishu, Mar 22 2011
Somali president Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed (2nd L) comes to see where police displayed the bodies of four al-Shabab fighters killed during fighting in Mogadishu, Mar 22 2011
Michael Onyiego

With the end of the mandate for the Transitional Federal Government looming, the Somali political structure is in disarray over questions of legitimacy and leadership in the war-torn country. Established in 2004 and backed by the United Nations, the TFG was originally tasked to deliver national elections and a new constitution by August of this year.

But Somalia is no closer to achieving either of those goals than it was in 2004, and the government is now facing an unclear future.

Somali member of parliament Hassan Haji Ibrahim says the inertia in the Somali government has been mainly due to constant infighting among the country’s leaders, particularly among the president, speaker of parliament and prime minister.

A new crisis

The newest crisis in the government is no different, with politics in Mogadishu increasingly engulfed by a personal battle between President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.

Somali Parliamentary Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden (File)
Somali Parliamentary Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden (File)

The dispute between the two revolves around the expiring mandate of the government. The Somali parliament sidestepped the looming deadline by simply voting in February to extend their mandate for an additional three years. The move was blasted by international backers such as the United Nations, United States and United Kingdom, but has been backed by African organizations such as the African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development.

In some ways, it appears as though Aden and the Somali parliament are moving to carry out the TFG’s mandate. Earlier this month, the speaker announced that presidential elections would be held in August. On Saturday, Aden announced the formation of a committee that would guide the poll. But many observers see the recent moves by Aden as part of a bid to oust President Ahmed.

Former Somali parliament member Ali Basha says the feud between the president and Speaker Aden is personal and has moved beyond the needs of the struggling country.

“They do not have the capacity of the position they are now holding. They were not politicians, they were not educated people," said Basha. "They are just people who came to power with the wish of the so-called international community. They do not trust each other, each one of them wants to stay in power. I don’t think that they can stay together.”

Clash of personalities

President Ahmed and Speaker Aden were major players in the 2008 Djibouti Peace Agreement, which ended hostilities between the Somali government and rebel Islamic Courts Union. The Islamic Courts Union, then led by Mr. Ahmed, took control of Mogadishu before being ousted by invading Ethiopian forces in 2006 on behalf of the TFG. Aden, then serving in his first term as speaker, was removed from his post after initiating talks with the ICU for a cease-fire and an end to the Ethiopian occupation.

The Djibouti talks saw elements of the ICU integrated into the TFG, with Mr. Ahmed assuming the presidency and Aden eventually regaining the speakership in early 2010.

But since that time the two have frequently clashed, most notably over the appointment of American Somali Mohammed Abullahi Mohammed as prime minister.

This is not the first time personal issues have clouded the administration of President Ahmed. Beginning in August of last year, government work was suffocated by an open power struggle between the president and then-Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke. The struggle ended when Sharmarke resigned in late September.

But according to Rashid Abdi, an analyst for the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, the current dispute could potentially bring down the Somali government.

“This problem between the two Sharifs is a problem that has been going on for the last two years," said Abdi. "Clearly these two people have lost credibility because of this constant infighting and I think the risk of this government collapsing even before August - when the mandate constitutionally expires - is actually very real.”

Consequences for Somalia

It is reported that Speaker Aden now has the backing of Ethiopia, a major player in both the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. Both the AU and IGAD issued decisions supporting the unilateral extension of the parliament in February.

President Ahmed has not received the same support for his government. On Sunday the Cabinet of the Transitional Federal Institutions - which includes the Presidency - voted to extend their own mandate for an additional year. But the proposal has not been backed by IGAD and was declared unconstitutional by the speaker. The United Nations - which also rejected the parliamentary extension - has similarly rejected the extension of the TFIs.

The dispute is unfolding amidst a backdrop of intense fighting between government forces and al-Qaida-linked rebels al-Shabab. At least 30 have been killed and more than 50 injured in fighting across the country in just the past few days. With just months left on its original mandate it is becoming less and less clear who will lead Somalia as it approaches uncharted territory.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid