Sacking Prime Ministers, Somalia’s Endless Drama

From the impossible search for what our Presidents term a “knowledgeable” prime minister, to the long wait for the discovery of such a person – the people are as yet unsure, when and where this gliding and backward policy of Somalia will come to an end.

Somalis are war-weary and would have liked to see their country fully recovered from decades of lawlessness, anarchy, civil wars and the most devastating terrorism, but that seems to be unreachable.

The most amazing experience is that every three and a half years, Somalia has at least three different prime ministers each fired, one after another. Surprisingly, on the appointment days, Somali presidents are known for saying they have selected the most appropriate prime minister who can help the country survive the long-running problems, but unfortunately a year afterwards, each prime minister is removed.

Somali Parliament Speaker Mohamed Sheik Osman Jawari
Somali Parliament speaker Mohamed Sheik Osman Jawari closely watches the no confidence vote for the ex prime minister Abdi Farah Shirdon on December 2nd 2013

Referring back to recent past history, Somalia had changed 10 prime ministers in the past 12 years, which means some served for at least one year. Also at least one parliament speaker was fired during each government’s four year-term.

Dr Abdi Qasim Salad Hassan was elected president of Somalia on the 27th of August 2000 at the end of Somali reconciliation conference held in the city of Arta in Djibouti. Dr. Abdi Qasim was in office for a period of four years during which he appointed three prime ministers, sacking each one nearly 14 months after being appointed. They were Ali Khalif Galeyr, Hassan Abshir Farah and Mohamed Abdi Yusuf.

His successor, the late Colonel Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, who came to power on 10th of August 2004, followed behind the footsteps of his predecessor and named three prime ministers.

They were Prof Ali Mohamed Gedi, Dr. Nur Hassan Hussein and Mohamed Mahmoud Guled (Gacma Dheere) although the late colonel failed in his attempts to replace Nur Hassan with his final favourite Gacma Dheere. Gacma Dheere was unsuccessful in taking the position because Nur Hassan Hussein insisted he was still the legitimate prime minister, and he finally ousted the president himself.

The founder of Islamic courts Union Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed then arrived as president. Somalis were happy with the arrival of the moderate Cleric who was expected to be an icon for the revival of Somalia, peace building and the creation of a stable sovereignty, but all hopes ended in smoke and the people re-swallowed their dreams when the young cleric’s government was surrounded by an internal rift that first caused the removal of parliament speaker Sheik Aden Mohamed Nur whilst sacking prime ministers followed.

During Sheikh Sharifi’s rule, three prime ministers were appointed. They were Omar Abdirashid, Dr. Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Professor Abdiweli Mohamed Ali. Ali and Farmajo also ran for the country’s presidency competing against the former cleric president Sheik Sharif and other prominent political figures.

But surprisingly an unexpected academic had shown up and won the presidential election on the 10th of September 2012. With the emerging of the academic Professor Hassan Sheik Mahmoud, Somalis once again regained their lost hopes, because he became the first ever professor to take over the country’s leadership.

The president then appointed Abdi Farah Shirdon as his prime minister. As we previously experienced on the day of the appointment of the new prime minister, President Hassan Sheik praised Mr Shirdon describing the prime minister and the parliament speaker as his closest friends.

“If you have learned that political rifts always mounted high amongst past leaders, we are confirming to you that differences have ended there and will not return – we will always be united for the interest of Somalia and will keep acting on the constitution” the president, the speaker and the recently fired prime minister jointly told the media during the prime minister’s appointment ceremony on the 6th of October 2012.

However, the sacked Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon’s first anniversary coincided with the middle of a very tense political rift between him and the president, who asked Mr. Shirdon to resign, accusing him of inactiveness.

Mr Shirdon rebuffed the action and refused to abide by the president’s sacking him. He insisted on continuing his duty until he was once and for all removed by what has been seen as a “politically-motivated” no-confidence parliamentary vote on the 2nd of December 2013.

That was only 13 months after Mr Shirdon was appointed Somalia’s prime minister. Now Shirdon has gone, but we wait for who is next to arrive and next to be fired.

Less than an hour after the parliament voted against the Ex prime minister, the United Nations representative for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, issued a very prompt press statement in which he mentioned that the parliamentary no-confidence vote was conducted in a democratic manner which means he was happy with the removal of the then prime minister.

A day before the no confidence vote, the outgoing prime minister was denied access to address the parliament in an attempt to defend himself against accusations that he was not knowledgeable for the post and his government was going backwards.

Somali Parliamentarians Vote on No Confidence Motion
Somali members of parliament sitting in session

Shafi’i Mohyaddin Abokar is the NewsBlaze Somalia reporter. Shafi’i has extensive experience in journalism, international relations, and football management. He is the founder of Somali Sports Press Association, a long-time sports journalist and a member of the International Sports Press Association.

Shafi’i has a Master’s Degree in international Relations obtained at De Montfort University in Leicester and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Multimedia journalism from the University of Northampton. The photo shows Shafi’i in action while at CAF Centre of Excellence in Cameroon.