Somalia’s New PM must resign: The TFG is hanging from the cliff by its nails
By Abdikarim H. Abdi Buh
Oct. 26, 2010

It is evident from the conduct of the two top leaders and their constituents that the infighting frenzy of the TFG has no end in sight. The president and the speaker of the parliament are trading accusation and counter accusations through the media which exposes how wide and far reaching their political divide is, especially when you reach the closing stages of the response from the speaker’s office – a plea for AMISOM forces to secure the Wednesday’s venue and to be extra vigilant during the business day coupled by a warning to Mogadishu mayor to stick to within the bounds of his job. This is the first time that members at the top echelons of the TFG feared for their lives not from the Islamists, but from within their faction.

Mogadishu municipality is implicated to have stepped in to the business of the TFG government by staging one sided public demonstrations and dispatching hooligans to terrorize the MPS who refused to go along the line of the president. Mr. Tarzan, the mayor of the city, is accused by many MPs such as, Mr. Ahmed Omer Gaagaale, that he is threatening MP’s from some clans that they will be killed if they refuse to vote for the president’s motion – the MPs and other members of the government are offended by the wild actions of the cowboy policies of Mr. Mohamoud Ahmed Nur known as Tarzan.

The TFG’s mandate expires in August and the current renewed in fight is not helping at all a government that failed to go beyond the barracks of the AMISOM forces despite relatively generous funding from the international community. Minority of the Somali elite – majority is wrong most of the time – is of the opinion that the new PM should spare his political career for another day. The newly nominated PM has seen firsthand the status of the colleagues he ought to work with in order to turn around the tarnished image of the TFG and is fully conversant in the international community’s unambiguous expectation that is engraved in stone that even the blind can read – to deliver efficient, effective, strong, accountable, transparent and small government is the term of office of the new PM.

When two persons are in charge of one horse it is bound to get thin

The new PM appreciates that the task ahead is a gigantic one that can be tamed only by a God send team that are committed to the achievement of common strategic goal and are willing to move mountains and are keen to sacrifice so much to attain it. The TFG government is populated by members who have no cohesive ideology but lumped together for nothing more than a personal greed for power and wealth. To the unsuspecting eyes, the political impasse that delayed the confirmation of the new PM appears as just an exercise of democracy in which the president is intervening in the parliamentary procedures but the real juice is about who, the president or the speaker, would dictate for the PM the names of the forth coming government – they are both in agreement that the PM should serve as a dummy for their wishes.

The question of whether the MPs cast their vote in secret or in the open has also nothing to do with TFG charter or the parliamentary by laws as so often mentioned, but is more geared towards auditing the value of the money that changed hands. The MPs’ votes are always on sale and goes to the highest bidder in matters that are trivial let alone approving or dismissing a PM which attracts the highest rates. The president invested so much in buying the votes of the MPs and is resolute to clearly see the hands that collected the money from his camp are raised. Some of the MPS who received cash from both camps are adamant to hide under the cloak of secret balloting scheme which all of a sudden strengthened the wily hand of the speaker.

The president and the speaker were the closest allies in the whole TFG institution and their friendship was erroneously believed to be unwavering- politics is a dirty game that makes a brother bite his own twin brother where it hurts most.

Their friendship was killed by the always crafty Ethiopian PM through the scheme he christened as the power sharing agreement between Ahlu – Sunna and the TFG, which saw the ouster of many powerful Wahabi Allies of the president for which, as consequence, the president blamed on Premier Sharmarke -The ex Premier was forced to resign   of course with a golden handshake. Both Sheriffs (president & the Speaker) are aware that phase two of Meles Zenaw’s secularisation of the TFG is to start in earnest on the first day the new PM assumes office and that explains why his confirmation became an uphill struggle.

This current conflict has the propensity to hang around for a long time as it is difficult to pinpoint a reasonable compromise that can make both contented, because President Sharif is sure that the Ethiopian PM favours to see this time the backs of the two Wahabi ministries that were not booted out during  premier Sharmark’s last reshuffle.

The speaker enjoys the support of the Ethiopian prime minister who is designated by the US to oversee the transitional government on behalf of the international community. Most if not all of the major cabinet members of the TFG are in the Ethiopian camp and all the militias that are fighting against the Islamists are formed, controlled and equipped by Ethiopia – Ahlu Suna of Abdi Wal, Hiiraan land of Aden Dabageed,  Ahlu Sunna of Barre Hiiraale, Gal Mudug of Abdishakur and the list goes on – Puntland and Somaliland were firmly in the hands of Ethiopia for the best part of the last two decades. The president’s armed wing   was systematically frustrated and disbanded – the last division was the Darvish which was shrewdly incorporated in to the so called TFG army. Most of the president’s men under arms either rejoined the insurgent Islamists or retired all together from active duties.

The chance for the new PM to secure the seal of confidence from the Parliament could be enhanced if he defects to the side of the Speaker which is not unethical in the world of the politicians but even then his role will still be that of a subservient fake.  Even If the new PM is confirmed on Wednesday still there is no guarantee that the in fighting will subside but on the contrary the prospect is that it will intensify making him impossible to have a free hand on the selection of his government on the one hand and also the parliament and the media are bracing themselves to volunteer to give him a bumpy ride that distracts him from his agenda on the other hand.

The speaker is being prepared by Premier Meles Zenawi to take the president’s office as a care taker after the current president is shown the door prematurely due to his lack of vision and leadership. The international community needs to create chaos now to buy time to put together a project that can extend the life of the TFG for at least another three years as Djibouti TFG failed to deliver any of its undertakings. What name and mandate the forth coming replacement one will be accorded in the light of the new American policy of engaging the regions remains to be seen – the international community can’t afford to abandon the TFG but will most probably use it as a bulwark to halt the march of the Islamists towards Puntland and Somaliland.

The circulation of the Thesis of the PM over the net gave a lot of ammunitions to his enemies and paralysed the efforts of his friends. The thesis was used by his nemesis to make the PM the enemy of a number of clans and for warlord Qanyare to label the PM as sick tribalist can’t be taken lightly. The damage to his reputations as a fair minded Somali has taken a dent so realistic that most of the common people took it serious. The president went on the offensive to water down  the undesirable angry uproar that the PM’s thesis has generated in the streets of Mogadishu –sizable number of the populace deem the PM as an already wounded man that can hardly assert his agenda. For the record no other PM ever came to power in a political environment as rotten as this and that sheds light on the gloomy reception that this PM received from Somalia.

If you can’t do what you want, do what you can!

Despite its poor performance the TFG has an acute structural problem that puts the PM in an untenable position –   to serve two masters who are often at war with each other.  Premier Geedi was kicked out by President Abdilahi Yusuf and Premier Nur Ade was used by the international community to unseat President Abdilahi Yusuf. What goes around comes around – Premier Sharmarke was booted out by Sheikh Sharif and the new PM after confirmation is bound to be used by the same forces to deliver President Sharif’s premature departure in a silver platter.

It is said that sometimes it needs more courage to decline to jump a fence in the face of a large field, than to go for it and break your neck. The new PM  I hope is under no illusion that he can’t save the failed TFG from its destiny but can make history by resigning while he can before he is forced to resign in humiliation – history will remember him kindly if he chooses to resign now in the face of definitive failure.

Abdikarim Buh
Political analyst and WardheerNews contributor



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