Thursday September 16, 2021
Mogadishu (HOL) - President Farmajo has issued a decree on Thursday suspending the powers of Prime Minister Roble. Farmajo accused Roble of making unilateral decisions that do not comply with the country's laws and provisional constitution.
The three-point decree says that the PM cannot issue directives regarding dismissals or appointments. It also blames the PM for "taking unconsidered steps that could lead to political and security crisis in the country" and accuses him of "misuse of power."
"As the FGS Prime Minister has violated the Provisional Constitution, the powers of the Prime Minister and all correspondence, especially dismissals or appointments, have been suspended pending the completion of the country's elections to the appointed Independent Commissions."
Farmajo also demanded that cabinet ministers not be removed until elections are held, and a new parliament is seated. He added that the electoral commissions would continue to organize the elections.
There was no immediate comment or response from the PM or his office.
The decree was delivered through Villa Somalia's official Twitter handle, but the message was not carried by any of Somalia's state-run media organizations. However, the directive was carried by Ethiopia's state-run news agency - ENA - on its official Facebook page.
President Farmajo is closely allied with Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed. The two leaders, along with Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki, formed a Tripartite Agreement in the Horn of Africa in September 2018.
It has been widely speculated that Ikran Tahlil, a cyber-security expert with Somalia's spy agency, may have been silenced for her knowledge about Somali troops' possible involvement in Ethiopia's civil war against the TPLF at the behest of the ENDF. A UN report in June said there was enough credible evidence to suggest that Somali recruits undergoing military training in Eritrea were transported to Ethiopia and took part in the conflict in the Tigray region.
It is unclear if President Farmajo reassumed responsibility to delegate tasks regarding elections.
Somalia's capital was brought to the brink of war in mid-April as pro-Farmajo forces clashed with soldiers loyal to the opposition over the failure of Farmajo's administration to hold elections and the legitimacy of his mandate - which ended on February 8. After President Farmajo's failed bid at extending his stay in office unilaterally, he was forced to concede electoral and security responsibility to PM Roble on May 1.
The directive did not outright fire or dismiss the PM, but is an attempt to render Roble powerless to move the gears of government.
The President and the PM have been locked in a paralyzing constitutional power struggle since September 5 when the PM sacked Farmajo's closest political ally and current spymaster, Fahad Yasin, over his administration's reluctance to investigate the disappearance and killing of NISA's cyber-security expert Ikran Tahlil. Since then, the nation's two most powerful leaders have issued competing directives and appointments.
PM Roble has accused the President of using his office to obstruct the investigation into Ikran's death.
Immediate efforts at mediation were unsuccessful, which has led Somalia's international partners to worry that this current stalemate will derail the electoral process and jeopardize the fragile peace.
This decree is not President Farmajo's first attempt at clipping PM Roble's wings. Before the onset of this latest political standoff, Farmajo issued a proclamation in early August that ordered all government employee's not to enter any new agreements until the completion of elections.
Roble was plucked out of political obscurity by President Farmajo as his PM hours after a crucial election conference in Mogadishu. Farmajo was pushed to hire a PM - a vacant position for nearly two months - as part of an electoral agreement reached by Somali leaders in Mogadishu that came to be known as the 'September 17 Agreement'.
His predecessor, Hassan Ali Khaire, was pushed out during an abrupt and controversial vote of no confidence on July 25 because he did not go along with the President's plan to delay elections. The President's camp contends that PM Roble was eyeing the presidency and thus actively sabotaging election efforts.
PM Roble told a high-level UN delegation this week that Somalia's long-delayed elections will proceed "as planned" but accused Farmajo of trying to reclaim "election and security responsibilities" from him.
Somalia is planning to hold national indirect elections later this year. The next phase to vote in Lower House MP's is scheduled for between October 1 and November 25.
FULL STATEMENT IN ENGLISH
H.E President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo:
Having seen the actions in contravention of the Provisional Constitution executed by the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) Hon. Mohamed Hussein Roble as stated in Article 87, Letters (b) and (c) and Article 90, Letters (b), (c) and (e);
Having seen the administration’s deviation from the elections process and elections security mandate as clearly captured in the speech by H.E. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia in his address before the House of the People on May 1, 2021, which was also adopted by the House ;
Having seen the Prime Minister undertaking unprecedented steps that could drive the nation to political and security crisis;
Having seen the Prime Minister seeking to infringe on the allowance rights and salaries of the Armed Forces and misuse of authority by certain institutions;
Having confirmed that the Prime Minister operated without consultation and cooperation with the President and singlehandedly issued decisions that violated the laws and the Constitution of the country which shows failure in his responsibilities.
Since the President of the Republic, is the Guardian and promoter of the fundamental principles of the Constitution;
The President has therefore enacted the following:
1. Since the Prime Minister of the FGS has violated the Provisional Constitution, the powers of the Prime Minister and all correspondence related to dismissals or appointments have been frozen until the completion of the country’s elections by the named Independent Commissions.
2. During this period, the various government organs shall continue providing required services to the citizens for the fulfillment of government functions as per Article 102 of the Provisional Constitution which stipulates that each Minister is responsible for the activities of their ministry and shall be considered, without subjection to dismissal or appointment until the completion of the national elections.
3. Since the completion of the formation of Federal and State Electoral Commissions (FEIT and SEIT) and Dispute Resolution Commissions, and the attainment of full agreements on procedures, budget, electoral security plan, and completion of all elections-related aspects to hold elections under the September 17, 2020 agreement and application of the relevant procedures to resolve the concerns raised on May 27, 2021, to ensure the commencement of the bicameral elections;
Therefore, all institutions responsible for the electoral process are encouraged to expedite the process as per the published Electoral Calendar.