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Khaire's ouster as PM paves the way for possible political comeback

Sunday July 26, 2020

Mogadishu (HOL) - As the dust settles on the sudden dismissal of Hassan Ali Khaire as Somalia's Prime Minister, many are curious about what the future holds in politics for the outgoing PM.

Khaire, the longest-serving PM in post-civil-war Somalia, accepted parliament's decision without a stir.

"I have decided to be an example for the Somali people by resigning from the position I have held for the Somali people," said PM Khaire.

He said that he was accepting parliament's decision, despite the lack of protocol during the vote.

Hassan Ali Khaire was a political novice when President Mohamed Abdullah Farmajo appointed him in February 2017. Before his premiership, Khaire worked in development and spent a decade working with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) working his way up to be the regional director for the Horn of Africa area.

He was also the executive director of Soma Oil and Gas since it's inception in 2013.

Mr Khaire immigrated to Norway in 1989 and is a dual Somali-Norwegian citizen.

In an outgoing speech, Hassan Ali Khaire outlined some of his achievements during his time in office.

He said that since he began his tenure as PM, he worked to ensure all of the government's employees - civil servants and soldiers - have received their monthly salaries in full and on time.

He spoke of achieving debt relief for Somalia's external debts and promoting responsible fiscal policy within his cabinet.

Political commentators in Somalia have suggested that Khaire's tone and the delivery of his outgoing speech are indicative that he may have higher political ambitions.

It's worth remembering that President Farmajo's own political clout was cultivated in the fall-out of the Kampala Accord. The dubious deal that was struck behind closed doors in 2011 extended the mandates of the Somali President, Speaker and Parliament for over a year and removed then Prime Minister Farmajo from office. Understandably, Somali's voiced their opposition to the accord which was widely viewed as infringing on Somalia's sovereignty. Farmajo reluctantly stepped down from office but left enjoying a great deal of public support.

President Farmajo appointed the deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Guled to act as the caretaker PM following the snap dismissal of Hassan Ali Khaire in an abrupt vote of the no-confidence motion.

President Farmajo announced that Guled will lead the Khaire-led cabinet until the President appoints a successor within a month.

"The Presidential Decree is based on the principle of state-building and development in our country until the President appoints a Prime Minister who will build a capable Government that will further accelerate the realization of the aspirations of the Somali people," Mohamed said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.

Deputy Prime Minister Mahdi Mohammed Guled welcomed the President's decision.

"It is an honour to be appointed Acting PM by H.E. President [Mohamed Farmaajo] today. I am humbled and will serve with utmost integrity, professionalism and with # Somalia's national interest at heart and in all actions. We will continue to progress by working together for a better future," Gulaid tweeted.

Opposition figures in Somalia have questioned the process in which Khaire was ousted. In a joint statement, they cited the irregularities in his removal.

The U.S. Embassy in Somalia has said that they "regret" the actions of President Farmajo and Somalia's lawmakers to withdraw their support for Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire. The U.S. warned the PM's ouster would further complicate the current delicate political balance in the country.

"The vote of no confidence against the prime minister was not on the House agenda, there was no motion filed detailing the reason for the vote, and there were no signatures of 50 M.P.s. There was no debate and no vote."

Khaire's comes as various stakeholders in Somalia are struggling to form a consensus on how and when federal elections will be held. Both Khaire and Farmajo had just returned from a highly publicized meeting with Federal Member State leaders in Dhusamareb to discuss the electoral model. Somalia's regional leaders do not believe one-person-one-vote elections can be held without the government extending it's mandate and are pushing for an enhanced version of the 2016 indirect polls.

Many believe Khaire's public support for elections to be held without delay was the catalyst in his removal.

Farmajo has insisted that Somali should have 1P1V and the country's electoral commission has said that it would need until August 2021 to hold credible elections in Somalia for the first time since 1968.

The Speaker of Parliament, seen widely as a close confidante and ally of President Farmajo, has criticized the FMS leaders for ruling out 1P1PV votes, arguing that parliamentarians have been left out of the equation.


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