Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble has rejected President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo directive on withdrawal of his powers.
Farmaajo, in a statement released by Villa Somalia on Thursday, said that he had suspended PM Roble’s powers to hire and fire government officials until after elections are held.
However, Roble said the directive was unconstitutional and the president has no powers to prevent the prime minister from conducting his duties.
“The letter issued by the President titled ‘Suspension of the powers of the Prime Minister promoting elections’ clearly violates the Provisional Constitution,” Roble said in a statement.
He said that Farmaajo had incorrectly misinterpreted Articles 87 and 90 of the constitution, arguing that they do not give the president authority to interfere in his constitutional powers.
Earlier on Thursday, Farmaajo ordered the suspension of the prime minister from leading the electoral processes and related security matters.
“The prime minister diverted from the powers bestowed upon him, based on the speech of President Farmaajo and the endorsement by the Lower House of the parliament,” the president’s statement said, accusing Roble of breaching the constitutional stipulations and agreed mandates.
The president instructed electoral teams to conduct the polls with the support of Federal Member States (FMS).
In response, PM Roble said Farmaajo violated the terms of the provisional constitution that empowers him to conduct the business of the government.
“The Government has full authority (in) formulating general policies and execution, the approval and enforcement of administrative laws, preparation of annual budgets and accounting, ensuring security of the country, protecting interest of the state, and appointment and dismissal of senior government officers,” PM Roble remarked as read by the Government Spokesman Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimu on Thursday night.
The saga between Somali President Farmaajo and PM Roble came to public attention when the prime minister in mid-August took interest in the case of a missing female spy agent. Roble suspended the then Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir in early September, but hours later Farmaajo overruled him and reinstated the intelligence chief.
Since then, both the prime minister and the president’s offices have issued opposing statements involving suspensions, dismissals and appointments of officials, and directives on public finances.
While Farmaajo argues that Roble has been taking unilateral decisions without consulting him, the premier argued that the president used his office and some security agencies to engage in actions that jeopardise the election process.
Following the opposing statements from Farmaajo and Roble’s offices on Thursday, presidents of federal member states (FMS) Puntland, Galmudug, Hirshabelle, South West and Jubbaland held a teleconference on the new development.
They urged Farmaajo and Roble to resolve their differences through dialogue.
They also called on all sides to respect and implement the electoral agreements reached on September 17, 2020 and those reached on May 27, 2021 and August 22, 2021 that outlined the implementation of the indirect electoral system and election processes.
“We urge the Somali people in uniting to ensure that peaceful elections are held in the country,” the five FMS presidents declared following their teleconference.
They said they would meet in Garowe town, the capital of Puntland State, on September 21-23 to consult on the acceleration of the elections and on the overall situation of the Horn of Africa country.