The people of Somalia are very disappointed with how the national power transition efforts are being curtailed by their leaders’ lack of progressiveness. At a time when the citizens are generally eager to witness a smooth electoral process, the President and Prime Minister seem to be caught up in their own battle royal.
The disenchantment that the people have emanates from the fact that, Somalia’s politics has been toxic for a very long period. The country’s politics has been defaced owing to massive ethnic violence, terrorism and a general lack of a clear power transition formula.
A fortnight ago, Somalia president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo suspended the country’s prime minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and marine forces commander in what political analysts have termed, “a battle for political leverage”. The political tussle has indiscriminately affected the political fortunes of one of Africa’s troubled nations. This fight has been going on for a protracted period, characterised by acts of political sabotage, civil unrests and blame-games. The political feud between the two political bigwigs comes at a time when the citizens have become weary of the prolonged delays in slating the dates for the presidential polls.
The suspension of the prime minister was founded upon allegations of graft, pillage and misappropriation of national resources especially public land. On the corruption allegations, the president accused Mr Roble of misappropriating land owned by the Somali National Army (SNA) and of frustrating the efforts of the defence ministry’s graft investigation processes. The build up to the eventual suspension centred on the president’s fears that, the prime minister’s actions in office were a well-coordinated plan to make way for a possible electoral malpractice. President Farmajo has also been on record stating that the prime minister was acting in violation of his constitutional mandate and that he was presenting himself like someone on a frolic of his own.
The prime minister has however rubbished the president’s decision as mere political rhetoric aimed at disturbing the ongoing parliamentary elections. Prime minister Roble also exhorted the army chiefs to dismiss the president’s unconstitutional antics and to start taking orders from himself instead. In a statement posted on the Facebook page of Somalia state news agency SONNA, the embattled prime minister admonished the President Farmajo’s conduct as “an open coup attempt against the government and the constitution with an aim to derail the election and illegally remain in office”. The prime minister’s sentiments seem to have a concrete backing given that Somalia begun holding parliamentary polls on the 1st of November and the elections were scheduled to be complete by Christmas eve. However, contrary to the proposed electoral calendar, the election is still ongoing with no assuring signs of being complete by January 2022. On the 24th of December, only a paltry 24 out of 275 parliamentary representatives had been elected.
On holding the elections, both parties have been blaming each other. The President blamed the prime minister for attempting to manipulate the electoral process with a view to continue in power. On the other hand, the prime minister stated that the president had invested so much time, effort and finances to frustrate and derail the national elections. It is crystal clear that the two leaders have not been working together in harmony. The prime minister’s suspension is, but just a reflection that the feud has reached extenuating levels. This president-prime minister fight has dealt a major blow to the optimism of the generality of Somalians, much to the ire of the international observers. The U.S Department of State has queried the whole political process citing irregularities and notable delays. The U.K urged the Somalian leadership to respect those whom they lead so as to ensure political stability in the country at the horn of Africa. Given the complexities that characterise Somalia’s electoral process, the new twist of events might further prolong the already delayed presidential election.
The prospects of an election in Somalia has raised so much optimism amongst the citizens and the region at large. The international community is convinced that a central government might be the solution to decisively deal with the ongoing Islamist insurgency being led by the al-Qaeda funded group, al-Shabab. A peaceful and democratic Somalia is hoped to be the ultimate panacea to the country’s incessant droughts that have plunged the nation into a humanitarian crisis. It is therefore prudent that the country’s leaders put people first ahead of settling political rows and individualistic interests.