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Somali PM names new cabinet

Saturday, November 12, 2010

MOGADISHU (Xinhua) - Somalia's new prime minister on Friday named his cabinet of 18 ministers, a government statement said.

The small government of largely technocrats from mainly Somali Diaspora will face the daunting task of solving the war-torn country's security, political, social and economic troubles.

In contrast with the previous government's large and bloated cabinet of almost 40 ministers, this government is composed of fewer but more capable minsters, according to the statement. "The Somali people and the international community were waiting for a competent and credible Somali cabinet, and I am happy to appoint this lean but capable cabinet. I call on my fellow countrymen to work with and assist this fine men and women tasked to revive the Somali State," Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed said in the statement.

Only two ministers from the previous government are included in the new line-up, while the rest are new faces hitherto unknown in Somali politics.

Minister of Finance Hussein Abdi Halane, known as "an effective administrator who is well-regarded by the international community, " will retain his post which will be enlarged to be the Ministry of Finance and Treasury.

Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar was named deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the new government. The statement described Omar as "an Oxford educated and highly regarded politician from northern Somalia."

The crucial portfolio of the Defense Ministry was given to Abdihakim Mohamoud Haji Faqi, who was also named the second deputy prime minister. Haji Faqi is said to be a former diplomat.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed praised the new line-up which will seek the confidence of the legislature in the coming days. "Somalia is in good hands and I call on the MPs to speedily and swiftly accord the new cabinet with their confidence, we do not have time to waste and our people deserve nothing less than this," the Somali leader said.

The Somali government is fighting a deadly Islamist insurgency and controls only parts of the capital Mogadishu under the protection of 7,000 African Union peacekeeping forces.

Source: Xinhua