Somalia: The President Vs the Prime Minister

Let, I say on the outset that, the Prime Minister, Dr. Abdi Farah Shirdon in a press
release characterized the dispute between him and President, Dr. Hassan Sheikh
Mohamed a purely “constitutional matter”. Now, the prime minister is seeking a
constitutional protection from the President, Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who has
requested his resignation after presenting to him a list of proposed Cabinet
Ministers without prior consultations with the Head of State. Well, with due respect
to the prime minister I beg to differ with him and say there is no chance that this
dispute will be resolved through the constitution. Where is the constitution? First,
there is no written constitution in Somalia under which the current Federal
Government operates. Secondly, the Federal Government operates under an Interim
Draft Constitution that is still under construction going through different
amorphous faces as attested by the “different versions” floating around.
Third, the Interim Draft constitution lacks time-frame, purpose and it is not a
complete document and as such it can’t be a proper tool to resolve constitutional
matters of this magnitude and national importance. Worse, to date Somalia can’t use
as a reference the 1960 Constitution, the 1979 Constitution or the Transitional
Federal Charter all of which were nullified and thrown out of the window in favor
of the present Interim draft Constitution by then prime Minister Abdi-weli Mohamed
Ali “Gaas” and his Constitutional and Federal Affairs Minister, Abdirahman Hosh who
were busy trying to influence the constitution making process and neglected their
national duty. Why? Your, guess is good as mine but it is not a random coincidence
that Somali has no constitution at the present. For instance, always I have argued
that, the transitional federal charter which was complete to govern and manage
state affairs of the Transitional federal Government
(TFG) to be amended but not to embark on to unchartered waters and roll back the
1960 Constitution etc.
Nevertheless, the demise of Prime Minister Dr. Abdi Farah Shirdon is partly due to
blame on him after a year in office and not doing anything about the constitution
where the bulk drafting legislation should come from the Executive.The prime
minister could have at least created a Constitutional Court to have recourse this
time on this matter of national importance but he didn’t. Plus, the prime minister
made his first mistake when he has appointed 10 Super Minister, 5 State Ministers
and 10 Deputy Ministers whom most of them had no prior public office experience or
solid educational background and or political experience. In the end, the Cabinet
has paralyzed all government institutions due to a turf-war and infighting within in
each ministry and sadly they were all interested in doing the administrative duties
of the Director Generals. As expected, though the Cabinet were included some of the
president’s friends who became liabilities to the prime
minister and proved to be the hardest thing to deal with or talking to by him and
major contributors to the dispute. In addition, there were certain individuals in
the Cabinet who have overshadowed and casted doubt on the president’s political
agenda and policy direction with the New Deal Members. Lately, disputes among top
government officials have been the norm but with the exception this time that, the
Speaker of the House, Dr. Mohamed Osman Jawaari is not a party to the dispute and
not siding either with the president or the prime minister which is a hopeful sign
that could break the dead-lock and a lead to a compromise between the president and
the prime minister.

In line with the above, I hope it doesn’t come to a point where this matter goes to
parliament which rightly or wrongly embodies the constitution and if it happens the
prime minister will be in a big trouble and become a toast at the end. I can give
you a run down on how the parliament will vote but afraid to be accused of being
supporter of the president because of clan affiliation. Believe, me you the
president can have his cake eat it and keep it at the same time. Finally, we have
been shouting from mountain tops to mend fences with the US and also in order to get
a world attention and finally God has answered our prayers and sent United Kingdom
to champion our cause. Therefore, we are pleased with the international community
and in particular the New Deal Members of UK, US, EU, Turkey and Japan developing
partnership with the Somali people with renewed emphasis and heightened commitment
to help the country and its people. In my opinion, we want the
New Deal Members to remain partners and provide with Somalia an ideal strategy to
strife forth and to go forward is to have strengthened armed forces, public service
based on equity and merit, restoration of law and order public and private sector
working together, health and education, democracy and human rights and development
of productive sectors and natural resources to turn things around etc. However, the
current dispute between the President, Dr. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the Prime
Minister, Dr. Abdi Farah Shirdon will create more problems nationally and
internationally deteriorating the political situation in Somalia and putting the
country into an uncertain and unattainable future but hope it won’t discourage the
New Deal Members to waiver on their commitment to Somali people. Of course, we have
political, economic and social structural problems in Somalia that need fixing and
shouldn’t waste money, time and energy on disputes and loose the
trust and confidence of our partners in our ability to resolve our problems
harmoniously. The question is how come the president and the prime minister have a
dispute over the selection and appointment of the Cabinet? In this case, this is
not a coalition government that argues and haggles over which portfolio should come
their way and why. All of them, the president, the speaker and his parliament and
the prime minister and his cabinet are not elected but appointed and should remain
neutral about who gets a Cabinet post provided he/she chosen on a solid criteria
and has the required qualifications to do the job. Where is the sense of outrage of
the New Deal Members? Thus, this is the first test of the New Deal Members and I
call upon them to intervene and resolve the dispute between the president and the
prime minister who are fighting over nothing about nothing and tell them to put
their act together and move on. The sovereign interests of Somali
people lies with the New Deal Members and they must establish their propensity of
directness with government officials and remind them what is at stake here. On the
other hand, in my view any change of the new deal plans due to this dispute or the
alleged corruption in the government that have forced the resignation of two
Governors of the Central Bank less than a year either by withholding their pledges
or scrapping the whole plans will not only put the country into uncertain future
but it will also hurt and increase the hardship on Somali people who have suffered
enough more than two decades of political unrest, conflict and chaos and man-made
drought and famine. Therefore, I kindly ask the new deal members to have a
long-term and short-term coordinated action plan, appropriate and coherent policy,
a time-table for each task (i.e., security and stability program, strengthening the
armed forces, functional institution building, human rights,
infrastructure rebuilding and rehabilitation and democratization process etc)
without further delay and avoid overlapping and parallel policy initiatives for

Dr. Abdi Ulusso  by Mohamud M Uluso
Tuesday, November 19, 2013