Efforts under way to end Somalia leaders' spat

Saturday September 11 2021
Somalia leaders

Somalia's Prime Minister Hussein Roble and President Mohamed Farmaajo. PHOTO | AFP


Somalia’s regional leaders of South West and Galmudug State have arrived in Mogadishu in a bid to end an ongoing public spat between President Mohamed Farmaajo and his Prime Minister Hussein Roble.

Presidents Abdiaziz Hassan Laftagareen  of South West and Ahmed Abdi Karie Qoorqoor  of Galmudug flew to the Somali capital Mogadishu in a peace-making role, in a week Farmaajo and Roble have shocked many with their apparent disagreement.

It began on Monday when PM Roble suspended the Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) Fahad Yasin, something which Farmaajo overruled immediately.

Roble ignored Farmaajo’s statement and was waiting to preside a ceremony within three days for his nominee as NISA boss, General Bashir Mohamed Jama, to take office.

Instead, just a day after, Yasin resigned from the post of NISA director on Tuesday, which Farmaajo readily accepted and replaced him with Yasin Abdullahi Mohamud who was until then the commander of NISA operations in Banadir region (Mogadishu and surrounding locations).

The Farmaajo’s appointee Mohamud wasted no time in taking office while Fahad Yasin who was in Turkey joined the handover ceremony on Wednesday by virtual means and surrendered powers.


That left General Jama, the man chosen by Roble to lead the spy agency, with no chance to go to NISA headquarters and take over the office.

The problem between the president and the premier’s offices worsened when Roble sacked the Internal Security Minister Hassan Hundubey. Within a couple of hours, Farmaajo nullified the prime minister’s dismissal of Hundubey and replacement with Abdullahi Mohamed Nur, a member of the outgoing federal parliament.

Both Farmaajo and Roble have cited articles in the provisional constitution, in defending their actions.

The chaos raised tension and a meeting on  Thursday, between commanders of Somalia’s armed forces; police, military, custodian corps and the spy agency, in Mogadishu attracted a lot of public attention.

The high profile meeting participants included General Odowa Yusuf Raghe of the Somali National Army (SNA), General Abdi Hassan Hijar of the Somali Police Force, General Mahad Abdurahman Adan of the Custodian Corps and the Acting Director-General of the National Intelligence and Security (NISA) met at the NISA headquarter in the capital.

After the meeting, General Hijar of the police force told the media that the meeting at NISA headquarters was routine and was meant for commanders to exchange opinions on how to ensure that the country remains stable.

“It was routine meeting by the commanders and we discussed that our responsibility include the nation having a peaceful election and a serene environment,” remarked Gen. Hijar.

Both Galmudug and South West presidents have since held separate meetings with Farmaajo and Roble and vowed to continue until they achieve a conducive environment for the remaining processes of the indirect election.

Dr Abdurahman Baadiyow, a former presidential candidate in 2017 and a renowned scholar on peace, expressed confidence that the challenge between the president and the premier will end in reconciliation.

“If anything I can borrow from my conflict-resolution in Somalia, I am confident that Farmaajo-Roble confrontation will end peacefully,” remarked Baadiyow, indicating that escalation to violence is not foreseable and it is a thing of the past.

Also on Monday, Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke @OmarSharmarke, a former prime minister, tweeted:

“Political crisis of this nature turfs out moderates and puts radicals into position of influence. Failure to both agree on the NISA leadership issue and solve the Ikran Tahlil case can engender hard feelings that can rapidly escalate into uncontrollable accusations and violence.”        

Member of Somalia’s International Partners led by James Swan, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Representative for Somalia, are known to operate behind the scenes to find a solution.