Somalia PM Roble scores another point against President Farmaajo

Somalia's President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo (left) and Prime Minister Hussein Roble. 

Photo credit: File

Somalia’s Prime Minister Hussein Roble on Thursday night scored another point against President Mohamed Farmaajo after his cabinet endorsed a statement calling out a ‘coup’ and interference in the electoral programme.

After a meeting in Mogadishu, the Council of Ministers said they opposed President Farmaajo’s attempt to tie down the PM by suspending his powers, as well as seeking to ‘right the course’ of elections that have been delayed over the past year.

The cabinet, chaired by Roble, had met to discuss a range of issues including security, politics and the status of the elections, a dispatch indicated.

And they condemned what they described as ‘the failed coup attempt’ against the Council of Ministers and the prime minister on December 27.

The meeting came amid reports that armed soldiers affiliated to the presidential guards had taken control of the premier’s office and adjacent buildings for a few hours. But they had abandoned them before Roble and other officers reported for work on Monday morning, the same day Farmaajo had announced the suspension of the prime minister.

“The council has expressed grief that the attack was waged against its base and the office of the prime minister on 27 December,” said information minister Osman Abukar Dubbe, who spoke after the cabinet meeting.

He added that a five-member committee would be assembled to investigate what happened that day.

Electoral processes

The cabinet expressed support for a comprehensive security initiative for the capital Mogadishu, proposed by the ministry of internal security and said to include units from different armed forces.

The council also approved the 2020 government financial accounts jointly tabled by the ministry of finance and the chief of government accounts.

Finally, the cabinet thanked Somalia’s international partners for supporting the prime minister’s leadership of the electoral processes and the National Consultative Council meeting that he announced.

Reacting to the public spat between Farmaajo and Roble, Somalia’s partners had warned that the wrangling could raise unnecessary tensions and derail the country’s rebuilding from years of conflict.

The Africa Bureau of the US State Department warned that “Washington was prepared to act against those who obstruct Somalia’s path to peace”.

“The attempted suspension of Prime Minister Hussein Roble is alarming and we support his efforts for rapid & credible elections. All parties must desist from escalatory actions and statements,” the bureau said on Monday.

The council also discussed issues related to the ongoing drought and the Covid-19 pandemic.