Somalia's troubled politics in summary as NISA agent's death dominate

Somali PM Mohamed Hussein Roble [L] and outgoing president Farmaajo [R] are in deadlock over NISA [File photo]

MOGADISHU, Somalia - For the first time in as many weeks, or let's says since April when outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo tried to extend his term, Somalia witnessed high volatile politics, which threatens to disintegrate the country.

Currently, the country is struggling to organize an election that has been delayed due to the internal wrangle coupled with bitter succession woes. Although a number of states have held presidential polls, the Lower House elections are yet to kick off.

But worryingly, the death of Ikran Tahlil, a junior employee within the National Intelligence Security Agency [NISA], seems to have changed the dimension. It all started with her disappearance on June 26, with the family spending two months searching for her.

Last week, the search came to an end when NISA, through former director Fahad Yasin announced her death, blaming Al-Shabaab militants. But the family rejected the claims, even as Al-Shabaab also denied involvement.

The situation would now take a political angle when Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble took up the matter for the sake of pushing for justice to the deceased agent. For transparency, Roble asked Fahad Yasin to table a report within 48 hours.

In defiance, the spy chief asked President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo to convene the National Security Council meeting, something which irked Roble, who went on to replace Yasin with Lt General Bashir Mohamed Jamah alias Goobe.

The suspension of Yasin caused rifts after President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo termed it "illegal and unconstitutional". He asked Yasin to carry on with the execution of his responsibilities.

With rifts between PM Roble and Farmaajo now becoming evident, the president changed tune, claimed Yasin had resigned. While accepting the "resignation", he went on to appoint Yasin Abdullahi as the new NISA boss while taking in Fahad Yasin as his new National Security Advisor.

A furious Roble insisted that Lt General Bashir Mohamed Jamah remained the substantive NISA Director until the matter of Ikran Tahlil was concluded. All statements by Farmaajo were frozen by the state media, further showcasing the widening rift.

To stamp authority in his government, PM Roble went on to ax security minister Ambassador Hassan Hundubey Jimale, replacing him with Abdullahi Nor. Although Nor has already been sworn in, a furious Farmaajo dismissed the changes, arguing that Jimale remains the security minister.

Lower House Speaker Mohamed Mursal, another ally of President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, issued a statement denouncing changes in the security docket, insisting that the new minister had not been taken through the normal parliamentary process.

With two security ministers and two intelligence chiefs, the wrangles in the Horn of Africa nation can be viewed as one of the best Hollywood films but in reality, tensions are brewing, with the political processes including elections now on the brink of collapsing.

The PM seems to be enjoying support from a number of stakeholders and the opposition while the president remains a lonely figure.

The international partners have warned about the situation, asked leaders to depoliticize Ikran Tahlil's death and focus on elections, how it ends depends on decisions to be made in the NSC meeting scheduled for September 19.


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