Mogadishu (Commentary) — The outgoing Somali Federal Parliament raised objections to violations by Mohamed Hussein Roble, the Prime Minister of Somalia, who fired a Minister and appointed a new Minister. In violation of the parliamentary rules, Roble witnessed the oath taken by the new Minister, who was not endorsed by the Parliament.
What are the implications of the power grab by Roble in a country that is gradually recovering from state collapse? Mohamed Osman Jawari, the former Speaker of the Parliament, said that amendments made to the draft constitution stipulate that, until a new parliament takes over, the incumbent parliament will retain its legitimacy. “Otherwise four people will unaccountably rule the country” Jawari added. He foresaw the current political deadlock in which Roble holds the electoral process hostage by making one hasty decision after another.
How can the Prime Minister discharge his duties to prepare Somalia for indirect elections if he ignores the legislature and the draft constitution? It is quite discouraging to see the ambivalence of presidential candidates towards a political stand-off over foundations of governance. This is not a time to vacillate. Roble’s goal is to politicise the case of Ikran Tahlil, the “late” intelligence officer.
A Prime Minister who briefly authorised a news blackout in the state media against his boss, the President, cannot be trusted to act impartially in electoral matters. Roble, a Swedish citizen, does not seem to understand the traumas Somalis are still undergoing despite efforts to reconstitute the Somali state. What are the roots of his undemocratic tendencies? His actions remind many Somalis of warlords’ reign of terror in Mogadishu. His closeness to the “opposition candidates” runs counter to the principle of impartiality during the electoral season.
Roble should not have interpreted the transfer of the President’s duties to oversee the electoral process as a carte blanche to rule Somalia lawlessly. The Federal Parliament of Somalia has a duty to prevent Somalia from falling into the hands of Damuljadid clique.
By Adan M. Dawad