The President of the Republic of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullah, known as Farmajo, issued a decision suspending the work and powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Robley, due to allegations of corruption and embezzlement of public funds, while the latter accused Farmajo of orchestrating a “coup attempt,” which paves the way for new tension in this unstable country in the Horn region.
The decisions came after the President received a report that the Prime Minister had embezzled public land owned by the Somali army, after which the Army Command opened an investigation into allegations of corruption in its public lands.
The Prime Minister also, according to the allegations, “put pressure” on the Minister of Defense; To divert the course of the investigation into allegations of land encroachment, and on December 26, 2021, he appointed a new Minister of Defense, without completing the ongoing investigation.
The President affirmed that the rest of the Cabinet members will continue to perform their duties per the laws and regulations of the state while calling on all government officials to refrain from seizing public funds and to abide by the laws and regulations of the state.
Abdullah indicated that his decisions were based on Article 87 of the country’s interim constitution, which states that he is “the guardian and promoter of the basic principles of the constitution,” as well as on the decree issued on January 18, 2018, regarding the protection of public lands, per Article 43 of the country’s interim constitution, in addition to Law prohibiting the misuse and corruption of public lands, during the elections issued on October 27, 2021.
In response to this move, Reuters quoted the Somali Assistant Minister of Information as saying that security forces were deployed to prevent the prime minister’s access to his office, describing the president’s move as an “indirect coup”.
The agency also quoted a statement issued by the Prime Minister, saying that he had ordered all security forces to take orders from him.
The country is witnessing a political crisis between the president and the prime minister, especially against the backdrop of the elections. Farmajo, whose term expired on February 8, was unable to agree with the leaders to organize the elections.
The announcement in mid-April of extending his mandate for two years led to armed clashes in Mogadishu. In a calming gesture, Farmajo commissioned Robley to organize the elections.
But in the months that followed, the tension between the two men continued, and their confrontation culminated on September 16, with the head of state announcing the suspension of the executive powers of the prime minister, who rejected the decision.
Farmajo and Robley agreed to stop the tension in late October and issued a joint call to speed up the electoral process.
Before the president’s decision, the two sides exchanged accusations of disrupting the parliamentary elections.
Farmajo accused the Prime Minister of “posing a serious threat to the electoral process.” On the other hand, Robley accused the president, on Sunday, of undermining the electoral process after he decided to withdraw the prime minister’s mandate to organize the long-awaited elections in light of a serious institutional crisis.
These accusations came a few hours after the dismissal of the head of the Electoral Commission, which the president objected to, and this may lead to a new escalation at the head of this unstable country in the Horn of Africa.
“The president spent time and money to stay in his office in the presidential palace, and does not want the electoral process to take place in the public interest,” Robley said in a statement.
Somalia is witnessing battles with Al-Shabab that have been going on for decades, destroying the country’s infrastructure.
And the drought came to add a crisis to the crises of Somalis, as the United Nations warned last week that a quarter of the population in the country is threatened with starvation, after the rainfall declined for three consecutive seasons, with the possibility of recording the fourth season.
The United Nations expects the crisis to worsen, with 4.6 million people needing food aid by May 2022, as the country is witnessing a lack of rain for three consecutive seasons, which has not happened in 30 years.
The lack of food, water, and pasture has already pushed 169,000 people to leave their homes, and the number could reach 1.4 million within six months, the United Nations said in a statement.
The United Nations says that about 7.7 million people, equivalent to half of Somalia’s population (15.9 million), will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2022, a 30% increase in one year.