Realism, inclusiveness, and an audacious move- hallmarks of the new Cabinet
by, Fu’ad Haji Abdiwali- 5Magazine
Tuesday August 9, 2022
A Cabinet of Inclusivity has been constituted under the leadership of Prime Minister Hamza. The cabinet list comprises prominent individuals, most of whom are members of the same political party, indicating that Somalia is moving toward the establishment of a political party system.
The long-awaited new cabinet of the Federal Republic of Somalia was appointed on August 2, putting an end to months of speculation and predictions from various factions.
The announcement was highly anticipated, and it comes more than a month after the Prime Minister assumed office. This now gives the new Prime Minister, Hamza Abdi Barre, the opportunity to focus on other matters, having completed the arduous and challenging process of forming a cabinet that requires a clan balance and filtering candidates for their various roles, as thousands of Somalis have been applying for ministerial positions.
In a highly adorned occasion that was televised by the Somali media, the Prime Minister, through his communication director Farhan Jimale, announced the names of individuals picked for various posts. The number of ministers appointed is 26, the number of state ministers appointed is 24, and the number of deputy ministers appointed is 25 bringing to a total of 76.
According to the Prime Minister, he appointed the members in the cabinet while consulting President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, members of the parliaments, and various civil societies operating in the country, The Prime Minister has assured that the individuals he chose are up to the task.
He stated that the nominations were made to align with President Mohamud's objectives of combating drought, insecurity, economic development, and job creation for Somali youth. "After much deliberation with the president and the public, I have named cabinet ministers who have education and experience and they will fulfill their duties," said Barre.
The Prime Minister stated that the Council of Ministers he has established has been selected because of their expertise, skills, experience, and dedication to address the concerns of drought, insecurity, development of the country's economy, and job creation for Somali youth, while working on the President Hassan's manifesto which calls for Somalia to be at peace with itself and with the rest of the world, which is a positive step.
The majority of appointees are members of the president's party, a significant positive step as the country transitions to a political system based on political parties. In the previous government, such issues were never considered and led to clashes and conflict; a cabinet with the same affiliation has a better chance of preventing misunderstanding.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister wished those appointed the best of luck and requested that the Somali public and other agencies, such as the Parliament, perform their constitutional duties and accept the new list. Mr. Hamza also alluded to the newly established government as a salvation unit, implying that they will be the ones to bring the desperately needed salvation.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, in a dinner invitation at the Villa Somalia, where nominated members of the cabinet met with the President, the President thanked them and wished them all the best in the position they were assigned.
With announcements of the Prime Minister come reactions from the public and politicians, some of whom were seeking the position. Big names and close associates of the President were included in the list, but in general, a large number of Somalis welcome the appointments, with some hailing it as the courage to do what no previous premier couldn’t attempt to do by appointing such a unique cabinet.
Changes in the ministry includes, the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change was established as a new ministry, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Constitution were amalgamated, and the Ministry of Humanitarian Aid and Natural Disasters was abolished. Salah Ahmed Jama, who formerly served as the Minister for the Constitution but is now the Deputy Prime Minister, as well as Abdulkadir Mohamed and Khadija Diriye, who both had cabinet roles in the previous administration, are among the three ministers who have been reappointed.
Another significant shift occurred when PM Hamza appointed a former Al Shabaab leader to his cabinet, a move that could herald a shift in anti-terrorism policy. Pundits believe this move will play a significant role in weakening Shabab and opening the door for others who wish to leave the group. Robow denounced Alshabab in 2013 and has even fought with them on several occasions.
He will now be the Minister of Endowment, Religious Affairs, and Counterterrorism Ideology. He will mostly be responsible for discouraging young people from joining al-Shabaab based on their religious beliefs.
On the list are notable figures such as Salah Ahmed Jama, deputy prime minister, Abshir Omar Huruse, foreign minister, Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur, who retains his defense portfolio. Mohamed Sheikh Ali Dodishe, Internal Security, and Elmi Mohamud Nur, Finances. Ahmed Moalin Fiqi, Secretary of the Interior, Federal Reserve, and Reconciliation.
The majority of the cabinet has been appointed from the parliament; out of the 27 ministers appointed, 16 are members of the parliament, accounting for 59 percent; both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are also members of the Parliament; 13 of the 24 state ministers are members of the parliament, accounting for 54 percent; and 14 of the 25 deputy ministers are members of the parliament, accounting for 56 percent or 43 in total.
The total number appointed in the cabinets are 76, and most of those names are familiar except for few names, Salah Ahmed Jama is the most significant of all, he is the man to watch, having served in the previous administration, he is now the Somali deputy Prime minister, Salah held position that includes the minister of Labour and Social Affairs minister from April 2017- April 2019 where he spearheaded national public sector and civil service reform, including established the legal frameworks for the seriously dilated Somali Civil Service, he was asked to lead the Ministry of Constitutional Affairs from April 2019.
The designated deputy PM, hails from the northern city of Erigavo, He entered Somali politics as an idealistic technocrat having studied political science and international development at Canada’s Carleton University. At university, he published academic articles and considered questions of democratization and development theories in post-conflict societies.
He is seen as a reformist-progressive, having pioneered a social safety net program as Labor minister. He helped carve out political space for youth, women and minorities in Somalia’s constitutional and democratic processes.
He has overseen the inter-government committee for handling constitutionally contentious topics. Giving us a glimpse into his mediation skills, when the opposition, supported by the state- level administrations and the federal government came to logger heads over elections which nearly spiraled into violent conflict last spring.
“We need a policy solution, and not a bullet solution,” he said of his philosophy.
He is generally seen as a trusted, sobering voice, by stakeholders, in a cacophony of divisive political voices which has strained the public’s trust in politicians in Somalia.
Another key appointee is the minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the position was designated for Abshir Omar Jama. Mr. Jama hails from Garowe, is a 55-year-old well versed leader, politician, aid worker and entrepreneur with over 30 years' experience in negotiation, networking, and organizational technical know-how with hands on knowledge and expertise working in Somalia.
Through his three decades of experience in the humanitarian and business world, Abshir Omar has invested tremendous efforts in building his community, acting as a leader who is known to resolve clan, business, and social disputes fairly and equitably. He is a Co-founder of MIDEEYE Political Association, the leading political movement in Puntland and currently serves as its Secretary General.
From 1996 to 2002, Abshir Omar was a Senior Field Officer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Puntland and Somaliland. Upon his return from pursuing his higher education in the United Kingdom, he rejoined the ICRC in 2004 for ten years serving as Regional Coordinator. During the peak years of the devastating Somali civil war, his leadership supported critical disaster readiness and response operations in humanitarian interventions and social support.
Abshir Mohamed Ahmed was selected as the state minister of Villa Somalia, a powerful position. Abshir was a prominent opposition leader and had previously served as the Deputy speaker of the upper house; he participated in President Hassan's reelection campaign.
Khadija Diriye was appointed minister of women and human rights. Khadija Diriye is a member of parliament and a long-serving cabinet member. She has previously served in many ministries and is a well-known political figure in Somalia. Mohamed Abdirahman Beenabeene, a native of Puntland, was appointed minister of the Ministry of Planning, Investment, and Economic Development; in recent years, this ministry has become a highly sought-after position.
Abdulkadir Mohamed Nur maintained his post as minister of defense; he was a close confidant of former prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble. Another buddy of Roble who appears on the new list is Abdirahman Yussuf Aladala, who maintained his job as deputy minister of information.
Ahmed Maalim Fiqi is the new minister of interior, reconciliation, and federalism. Khadija Mohamed Al-Makhzoumi was assigned to the newly founded ministry of environment and climate change. Dr. Mahmoud Nuur Elmi has been appointed finance minister. Abdirizaq Omar Mahamed, a close friend of President Hassan Shiekh, has been appointed petroleum and mining minister.
Fu’ad Haji Abwali