Somalia: Mohamed Farmajo: Nominated from Obscurity with the Status Quo

Ahmed Said

October 15, 2010

The Somali Transitions Federal Government (TFG), since its formation a few years ago, there has been a chaotic realm of political confusion, corruption, and cute rows between top officials, which habitually follows a road to zero where things fall into self-fulfilling prophecy of negativity and lack of tangible accomplishments in the must-do tasks the government should be doing instead of being engrossed in internal feuds that divides it into entities of self-interest groups and individuals. So far, this has reflected on the usual political bickering that happen between every president and prime minister that sit in the presidential palace of the TFG. The list of the presidents and prime ministers of the TFG who fought over political differences is too long; Abdualhi Yusuf Vs Geedi, Nur Ade Vs Abdulahi Yusuf, and recently, Sheikh Sharif and Sharmarke; the question is, will the same something happen between president Sharif and the new prime minister, Mohamed Abdulahi Mohamed (Farmajo)? Or things will be different where the president and the new prime minister focus on the huge challenges that the TFG currently faces, which is the dysfunctional traits of the TFG itself, which controls a few street in Mogadishu, plus the stiff armed opposition waged by the Islamists, who control most of Southern and central Somalia? The answers to those questions will be provided by the happenings of the future but how things develop will not be left to chance but how the TFG and its president and prime minister handle their political posture and cooperation will be the key. However, the status quo of the TFG sounds like a smoker who finds it hard to quit smoking; for instance, from the Sharmarke´s government and beyond, the TFG failed to organize itself to a degree where it can expand its control beyond the few streets it controls in the capital; the TFG failed to give its institutions the synergy they need to work together. The TFG fall into a hole of bad habits where corruption, lack of focus on important things and lack of fulfilling its mandate creep in. In a nutshell, eight months left for the TFG and the challenges ahead for the new prime minister are immense, such as forming a cabinet with quality than with quantity. Well, will the TFG quit its bad habits? Or it will be like a smoker who finds it hard to quit smoking?

An important angle of the situation worth looking at is that the new prime minister has just been nominated by the president and will need the acceptance of the parliament, and it is not yet clear if the parliament will accept him, though it is likely that the parliament will accept him. Once he is accepted by the parliament, the new prime minister should form a government with competence and commitment. Forming such government will be a huge challenge for the prime minister where he will need to choose between quality and quantity, appeasing clan expectations or selecting people who can execute the job no matter their clan identities. Either way, the new prime minister will not be blameless in the eyes of 4.5 clan-based ideologies where politics without borders plus self-interests cross each other. Nevertheless, having decision-making skills for the good could be the right path to take for the new prime minister despite the potentiality of opposition by the prying eyes of the power searching individuals or groups within the TFG or in the political landscape of Somalia. Once he forms his cabinet, the biggest challenge will be security, especially the few areas in the capital the TFG controls where less than a year, two suicide explosions by Al-Shabab Islamists killed nearly a dozen of government ministers and MPs plus dozens of civilians.

Little is known about the new 48-year old prime minister. However, he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somalia before the collapse of the state in January 1991. He also worked at the embassy in Washington, where he was the First Secretary. He is a Somali-American and a professor of economics at Niagara University in Buffalo, New York. Despite being nominated from obscurity, the new prime minister could be the magic pill for the embattled TFG…











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