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Cabinet Reshuffle confirms TFG’s ineffectiveness | Mohamud M Uluso

July 11, 2010

The political opportunism pursued by the controversial Speaker of the Transitional Federal Parliament (TFP), Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan has set in motion a chain reaction that has dispelled all claims of legitimacy, sustainability and functionality of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG), also known as the Transitional Federal Institutions (TFI). Further efforts to support TFG (TFI) would be in conflict with the solemn responsibility of the international community to support democratic Institutions based on transparency, accountability, reliability and civil protection. Ethiopia’s (IGAD) hysterical campaign to send “occupation forces” from the “frontline States” into Somalia to prop up the TFG is a clear indication of that reality, produced by its “polarization” policies.

It is absolutely immoral and counterproductive to present the TFG as a government worthy of support. The potential risks from a “weak, inexperienced, and proscribed Somali insurgency” cannot be preempted by supporting corrupted and incompetent individuals dressed up as “legitimate leaders of the Government of the people of Somalia” by “the International Community”. The Ethiopia’s fabrication to define the Somali conflict as conflict between the people of Somalia and “foreigners” (International terrorists groups) belies the reality and would lead to perpetual destruction and human suffering. Hypocrisy feeds cynicism and despair that are the foundation for the growth of radicals and fanatics in underdeveloped, oppressed and mismanaged societies.

In the confusion of removing the former Speaker from Office, President Sheikh Sharif Sh. Ahmed attempted to fire the Prime Minister (PM), Omar Abdirashid A. Sharmarke but failed. Almost all Ministers sided with the PM. Despite rescinding his decision, the President expressed in Istanbul, Turkey during an International Conference on Somalia his intention to appoint a capable and effective PM with small Cabinet.

On his part, the new Speaker held secret and double-edged discussions in Nairobi and Dubai with prominent figures of PM’s clan. During the month of June, candidates for the PM’s position were circulated and the talk for the formation of new Cabinet and the predicament of the President in the face of the Speaker’s alliance with the PM dominated the Somali chat rooms. Many observers are disturbed very much about the secrecy of the personal dealings of the Speaker as government businesses.

It appears that the President and PM did not employ minimum good governance practices for the formation of the new cabinet. All constitutional protocols have been trampled. There have not been serious political consultations with parliamentary groups, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, social organizations and other politicians for public participation and support.

Either for insolence or not, on July 1, the PM told the Media that he sent the list of the new Cabinet to the President for approval. Two days later, one of the PM’s Spokesmen released the list of the new Cabinet.  There is no administrative evidence that the President approved the new Cabinet except the PM saying that “I can confirm that the President has agreed and ratified the Cabinet changes” and the President “interacting with some Ministers.” This means that the President has forfeited his constitutional and Administrative responsibilities. What is more disturbing is that the Ministers have started working without “getting parliamentary approval and taking constitutional oath of respecting the provisions of the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) and national interest.” This is a high level of disregard of the legal system and political norms.

Many messages transpired from the composition of the new Cabinet. First, the President has damaged his integrity and ability to lead because the Cabinet remained almost the same in terms of number, competence and integrity. Second, Cabinet Members are all allies of the Speaker and the PM. Third, those perceived as “hard core collaborators” with Ethiopia have received key Cabinet positions while those accused of corruption remained in their leadership positions.  Fourth, Ahlu Sunna Wal Jama (ASWJ), which entered a power sharing agreement with the TFG, has been shortchanged, humiliated and deeply divided. Fifth, the Ministers who resigned or their loyalty to the Speaker and Ethiopia were suspected have been excluded from Government.

In all aspects, the Cabinet reshuffle is an insult and affront to the conscience, intelligence and pride of Somalis. A Cabinet reshuffle while the animosity between the President and PM remains unresolved is recipe for indiscipline, confusion and rapacity. The President, without legal and political preparation and authority, has asked foreign forces. TFG Ministers and Officials contradict each other on major political issues and lie over public information. These are symbols of autocratic and dysfunctional governance and abuse of power.

Two days before the PM’s Office released the list, the Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia announced the number of the Cabinet with brief comment.  The Ministry confirmed that minor changes were expected and listed the five Ministries assigned to ASWJ, namely “Ministries of Security and Pacification, National Planning and International Cooperation, Education, Reconciliation, and Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR).”  Also, it has trumpeted that Mr. Abukar Abdi Osman “Mardadi” and Mr. Yusuf Hassan Ibrahim “Dheg” have been appointed as Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs respectively while Sheikh Abdulqadir Ali Omar remained as Minister of Interior. It seems that Ethiopia pre-approved the list.

The appointments of the former Speaker, Sheikh Adan Madobe and his Deputy, Prof. Mohamed Omar Dalho as a Deputy PM and Minister of Ports and as Minister of Social Affairs respectively are mainly for Ethiopia’s instruction and secondarily for local politics. Apart both men enjoy the blessing of Ethiopia; the new Speaker might have been advised to play clan politics. That aside, the question is, “can these two politicians fulfill their executive responsibilities if they failed to fulfill their parliamentary responsibilities? What would be the level of trust between the PM and his new Deputy, former Speaker?” The apparent answer is not hopeful.

Corruption, incompetence and foreign control made the TFG ineffective. Some of latest events would be illustrative examples.

First, the President failed to clear up the allegations of corruption and abuse of power against the Executive Branch before the former Minister of Finance moved to the Speaker’s position. A group of parliamentarians and the public at large are waiting to see accountability. The fake currency imported in the country under the responsibility of the Speaker created security troubles and high inflation in Puntland and Benadir region.

Second, Ethiopia, for aims to be investigated, used IGAD deliberation (instruction) and Italian grant of €500,000 to force a merger of TFG and ASWJ. The parties were not prepared to such negotiations.  The scandals and recriminations during and after the negotiations of the agreement are sufficient for questioning the objectives behind an agreement, in which the parties were not interested.

Third, Ethiopia, on one hand, promotes the appointment of “eminent person” besides the Envoys of UN, AU, IGAD, Arab League, European Union, and expected US one; on other hand, it insists that IGAD retains matters pertaining to Somalia. All these are to mess up the Somali future.

Fourth, a picture published in the Internet, shows the President discussing the war plan against the insurgency with the commandant of the police, middle military officials and Mr. Mohamed Afrah Qanyare, Member of Parliament. This kind of image conflicts with the concept of government and muddies the internal politics.

Fifth, the outgoing Foreign Minister has revealed the availability of €1 million provided by the Italian Government for reconstruction and capacity building of five Ministries. TFG and Italian Government did not divulge the news before the outgoing Minister acted as whistle blower.

The Cabinet reshuffle confirms TFG’s ineffectiveness. The disillusionment with the TFG has generated new initiatives but the Ethiopian Government would like to kill them with all its tricks and dire warning. Let me repeat again that the right path for rebuilding Somalia hinges on the outcome of Somali national dialogue through legitimate representatives of the various social constituencies.

Uluso Article: https://somalitalk.com/tag/uluso/

Mr. Mohamud M Uluso


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