Somalia President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, PM Abdi Farar Shirdon engaged in supremacy war



Standard Media

MOGADISHU, SOMALIA: Tension remains high in war-torn Somalia after President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud asked Prime Minister Abdi Farar Shirdon to resign last week.
The development is a major blow to Somalia, which has experienced a rare period of political stability for the past year, since the new negotiated government was set up with the backing of the United Nations and the international community.

Sources within the Somalia government say the President asked the Premier to resign on grounds that Shirdon was ineffective in his job. But the adamant Prime Minister has declined to leave office and has instead called for Parliament’s intervention, terming his attempted ouster unconstitutional.

Addressing Parliament three days ago, Shirdon told MPs that he had a “constitutional dispute” with President Mohamud, but did not elaborate. Sources within government have, however, disclosed to The Standard On Sunday that the rift between the President and Premier was political power struggle.

According to the sources, the leaders agreed on the need for a Cabinet reshuffle to improve effectiveness of government, but the President disapproved of the list crafted by the Premier insisting he redrafts the same to include specific individuals. “It is at this point that the PM indicated the move was unconstitutional and asked the President not to interfere with his work. What followed was a demand by the President that the PM should resign,” explained our source, who is a senior staffer in the PM’s office.

Abused hospitality

Sources close to the two leaders confirmed to The Standard On Sunday that the situation remains unresolved as of this weekend – a development that is of grave concern to Somalia’s neighbours in the Horn of Africa region, especially Kenya.

The move comes at a time when Kenya is in the process of sending Somali nationals living in refugee camps in northern Kenya back home. The government considers the refugee camps as havens for Somali extremists and has called for hundreds of thousands of refugees to return home.

“Some of these refugees have abused our hospitality and kindness to plan and launch terror attacks from the safety of the refugee camps. This cannot and should not be allowed to continue,” Interior minister, Joseph ole Lenku, said recently.

He was reacting to reports that one of the suspects of Nairobi’s Westgate mall attack lived in one of the refugee camps, where he reportedly strategized for the deadly blast.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees records, Kenya hosts an estimated 640,000 refugees.