EDITORIAL: Spat with PM Roble shows Farmaajo bears all blame on missed targets

The outgoing president Farmajo [L] and PM Roble [R] are in deadlock over NISA control [File Photo]

EDITORIAL | Somalia has this week been distracted from the problems that face it, to problems that two individuals in the country’s executive hierarchy have.

Outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, whose term technically ended months ago, has been beefing with his Prime Minister over appointments and disciplinary action to be taken on errant officials.

From the outset, their problem is either that of people supporting impunity or fear of cracking the whip because of political repercussions. And it seems Farmaajo is much more fixed by this dilemma. Picture the situation on Monday when he cancelled the suspension of Fahad Yasin, then chief of the intelligence agency, NISA.

Roble was reacting to NISA’s lethargic treatment of an investigation in which a spy agent disappeared in June only for the agency to claim she had been murdered by al-Shabaab.

NISA has neither stated when the killings took place or where the body is. To the outsider, it seemed like NISA was blaming al-Shabaab (whose spokesman has since rejected the accusation) so as to wish away incessant inquiries by Farah's family. Although there are legal questions on just who should fire, the differences between Farmaajo and Roble are also a depiction of how each of the leaders could handle impunity in the country.

Somalia, whose constitution is still a work in progress, has faced many instances where a lack of courts to interpret the constitution has caused lots of chaos. But from the NISA debacle, it appears only Roble wanted to ensure discipline is maintained, not a cover-up.

To be fair, Mr Yasin has been Farmaajo’s main man in this administration right from the time before the campaign’s. We could be naïve to have expected that Farmaajo would come hard on him on the question of the spy agency. It still manifested inclination for impunity on the President’s side, as he chose to redeploy Mr Yasin, rather than have investigations conducted into the incident.

The presidential palace known as Villa Somalia says the investigations will still go on, but just how detached can they be from the man in question if he still hangs around the President as an advisor?

Impunity is not the only danger the chaos poses, however. Somalia is currently in the thick of an electioneering programme. Having been delayed for eight months, it remains Roble’s biggest assignment to deliver. When Parliament impeached Hassan Khaire in July last year, he blamed him for delaying the electoral programme as well as other crucial programmes like the constitutional review, as he was the Prime Minister.

This week, Farmaajo’s office has claimed it retains full powers on hiring and firing the Cabinet and argues such cannot be done by a Prime Minister, especially in a transition period.

This leads us to question whether blaming Khaire or other entities was warranted. Wasn’t Farmaajo to blame all along when the country missed its targets and missed the electoral timelines?

For sure even the Lower House says Mr Roble cannot swear in a minister. The House says any new cabinet ministers must be approved on the Floor before they take office. If it is true that Roble overstepped the law when he fired Internal Security Minister Hassan Hundubey Jimale, then Farmaajo must bear the blame including any derailment of elections.


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