New Somali president faces tough task of picking his Prime Minister

Wednesday February 22 2017

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.

Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo. PHOTO | AFP 


Lobbying has started in Somalia for the position of the country’s Prime Minister, to be nominated by newly-elected president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo soon after his inauguration this week.

Under the power-sharing formula, the president, he of the Darood clan, is bound to nominate the leader of government from the majority Hawiye clan. The clan has two sub-clans — the Abgal and the Habargidir — in consideration for the post.

That has set off intense lobbying with the Habargidir expecting a dividend for their support of President Farmaajo when he was elected ahead of 22 others to lead the country. The Habargidir argue that the Abgal from whom former presidents Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Sheikh Sharif Ahmed hailed — have been at the helm for eight years and it is now their turn.

Those angling for the position of the Prime Minister from the Habargidir sub-clan include: Abdirahman Abdishakur Warsame, a former senior political advisor to UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Somalia, and Abdinasir Abdule Mohamed, a Somali-American doctor. The two were unsuccessful contenders in the February 8 presidential election.

Those from Abgal who are positioning themselves for the PM post include former prime minister Ali Mohamed Ghedi, who served between 2004 and 2007, Hassan Mungab, a former mayor of Mogadishu and Abdirahman Omar Osman Yarisow, the current Senior Media & Strategic Communications Advisor to the Federal Government of Somalia.

The Habargidir are mostly businessmen — they control the lucrative khat business from Kenya and are a highly political sub-clan. They have a significant influence in Mogadishu security sector.

On the other hand, sources in Mogadishu say that President Farmaajo will also be under pressure to nominate an Abgal to “appease” them for losing the presidency.

The Abgal is the largest Hawiye sub-clan in Mogadishu and those who are fronting for them say that the president needs this clan if he wants his government to survive for long.

The president nominates the prime minister, who must be approved by parliament. The PM then appoints the Cabinet in consultations with the president, which also must be approved by parliament.