Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo has withdrawn powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, deepening a political crisis that could plunge the nation into conflict.
“Since the Prime Minister of the FGS has violated the Provisional Constitution, the powers of the Prime Minister and all correspondence related to dismissals or appointments have been frozen until the completion of the country’s elections by the named Independent Commissions,” said Farmaajo in a statement issued Thursday evening by the presidency also known as Villa Somalia.
“During this period, the various government organs shall continue providing required services to the citizens for the fulfillment of government functions as per Article 102 of the Provisional Constitution which stipulates that each Minister is responsible for the activities of their ministry and shall be considered, without subjection to dismissal or appointment until the completion of the national elections,” he added.
Farmaajo said the Prime Minister “operated without consultation and cooperation with the President and singlehandedly issued decisions that violated the laws and the Constitution of the country which shows failure in his responsibilities.”
The development comes hardly a fortnight after Farmaajo reversed a decision by the premier to fire the head of Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA), Fahad Yassin Haji Dahir, saying the move was “illegal and unconstitutional.”
Roble had fired spy chief Fahad over the mysterious killing of Kran Tahlil – a female intelligence operative; replacing the intelligence honcho with Major Gen. Bashir Mohamed Gobe.
The premier ordered the attorney general to investigate Ikran’s murder after the deceased’s family met Roble in Mogadishu.
Somalia’s international partners expressed concern that the controversy surrounding the disappearance of Ikran Tahlil Farah was creating political tensions that could impact on the functioning of the Federal Government of Somalia and disrupt the electoral process.
In a joint statement, they called for de-escalation, and noted that they continued to engage a wide range of Somali leaders to urge for a rapid resolution of the controversy, including a credible investigation into Ms. Tahil Farah’s disappearance and the completion of the electoral process without any further delay.
In April 2021, Roble opposed plans to extend the term of President Farmaajo and his government by two years.
The power struggle saw rival armed factions fight bloody battles in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu.
Farmaajo accused the administration’s deviation from the elections process and elections security mandate as adopted by Parliament on May 1, 2021.
He further blamed the Prime Minister of seeking to infringe on the allowance rights and salaries of the Armed Forces, misuse of authority by institutions and undertaking “unprecedented steps that could drive the nation” into a political and security crisis.
Somali presidential elections are set for October 10, 2021.