Political Misjudgment of Prime Minister Roble

By Mohamud Budul Ashkir

Mogadishu (Commentary) — The Prime of Minister of Somalia Mohamed Hussein Roble fired the Director of the National Intelligence and Security Agency Fahad Yasin. Under the draft constitution, it is the prerogative of the President to appoint or fire the NISA Director.

Roble’s decision was annulled by President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who instructed Fahad to carry on with his duties and submit a report on the death of Ikran Tahlil to the national security committee. Roble instructed the Attorney General to begin investigations into the death of Ikran. Several days ago Roble instructed Fahad to write a report on the case “within 48 hours”. With only 9 weeks to go before the Presidential Elections, the renewed disagreement over the limited powers of the two leaders of the two executive branch might affect the electoral process.

Roble seems to have acted on recommendations from the the alliance of presidential candidates, who, on several occasions, called for the sacking of Fahad. The fragility of federal institutions necessitates a careful handling of political disagreements.

The Somali Federal Parliament in 2014 resolved a similar power struggle involving the sacking of a NISA Director by a Prime Minister. The grounds for sacking Fahad are not only dubious; they hint at a pattern of hasty decision-making on the Prime Minister’s part from a visit to Kenya to a controversial renegotiation of electoral modalities to grant Federal Member States more powers to influence the selection of the new MPs. As a political leader, Roble is required to act impartially — getting close neither to the presidency nor the self-styled opposition politicians.

Mogadishu is still grappling with the legacy of 1991. Questions are being raised about the merits of the limited security reform; sections of the security forces can easily be rebranded as National Salvation Forces modelled on pre-2007 warlord militias. Roble had better de-escalate the political tension and allow for level-headed members of the political leaders to have a role in preventing power struggles that could delay elections.

By Mohamud Budul Ashkir