(Reuters) – A debate on whether to sack Somalia’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed descended into chaos on Tuesday as his supporters blew whistles and shouted out slogans, forcing the parliamentary speaker to halt the session.
The no-confidence motion, which Washington had warned could deepen political turmoil, was backed by lawmakers loyal to President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud after the two men fell out over a cabinet reshuffle last month.
But politicians supporting the prime minister started beating on empty jugs, blowing on whistles and chanting “no motion” soon after the debate started, creating an almost deafening roar.
“Due to noise, we hereby close the session today. Let it be another day,” parliament speaker Mohamed Sheikh Osman said after bringing the session to order about four hours later. He did not say when the debate would resume.
Western donors who have promised to help rebuild Somalia after two decades of conflict worry that the removal of a second prime minister in less than a year will weaken the government and leave it rudderless in its fight against Islamist rebels.
Ahmed’s predecessor was also sacked by parliament after a similar row with Mohamud that paralyzed the government for months last year.
Security around the bullet-scarred Somali capital was tightened before the debate, with increased police presence around parliament, said witnesses. Al Shabaab Islamist militants have attacked the building in the past.
Despite the arrangements, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a car carrying a lawmaker to parliament, killing the driver, according to another MP, Saaqo Aden.
The dispute between the two leaders erupted after Ahmed, an economist who has been in charge since December 2013, sidelined one of the president’s key allies in a cabinet re-shuffle.
Lawmakers who put forward the no-confidence motion have accused the prime minister of doing a poor job and complained about the slow pace of change. The prime minister’s office declined to comment on Tuesday.
Washington warned Somalia late on Monday about the dangers of holding the vote, saying it was “deeply concerned with political turmoil”.
“Actions to put forward a parliamentary motion for a vote of no confidence in the prime minister do not serve the interests of the Somali people,” said Jen Psaki, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman.
Warsaxaafadeed… RW. Cabdiweli “Waa inaan meel uga soo wada jeedsano ilaalinta Dastuurka KMG iyo Shuruucda dalka”
Muqdisho, 11, Nov, 2014….Ra’iisul Wasaaraha Xukuumadda Feederaalka Soomaaliya mudane Cabdiweli Sheekh Axmed Maxamed, ayaa ku tilmaamay khilaafka siyaasadeed ee hadda dalka ka jira inuu u baahan yahay in lagu xaliyo wada xaajood iyo is qancin
Ra’iisul Wasaarhaa ayaa ku tilmaamay khilaafka siyaasadeed noocaan ah uu dalka u horseedi karo in aan si wanaagsan loo xaqiijin Hiigsiga 2016, oo la rabo Soomaaliya in ay ka dhacdo doorasho ay ka qayb qataan dhammaan shacabka Soomaaliyeed.
“Dalka Soomaaliya wuxuu soo maray 24-kii sano ee la soo dhaafay colaado, abaaro, qalalaaase siyaasadeed oo u horseeday bur-bur soo gaara haykalkii dowladnimo ee dalka. Anagoo ka tusaale qaadanayna dhibaatooyinkaas na soo maray, waa inaan dhamaanteen u wada istaagno samatabixinta dalka iyo dadka. Waana in aan meel uga soo wada jeedsano sidii aan u ilaalin lahayn ku dhaqanka dastuurka KMG iyo sharuucda kale ee dalka u yaala” ayuu yiri RW Cabdiwali.
Ra’iisul Wasaaraha oo hadalkisa sii wata ayaa yiri “ Wax kasta oo khilaaf siyaasadeed ah waxaa haboon in loo maro hab ku dhisan wada xaajood, is qancin iyo u turid dowladnimada curdanka ah ee Soomaaliya.
Ra’iisul Wasaare Cabdiweli ayaa ku tilmaamay arrimaha hadda socda in ay yihiin kuwo saamayn kara nabad ku soo dabaalida dalka iyo ciribtirka argagaxisada, hirgalinta iyo xaqiijinta nidaamka federaalka. Waxaa sidoo kale mudan in la tixgaliyo lana dhiiri galiyo dadaaladda beesha caalamku ee ku aadan di u dhiska dalka iyo xaqiijinta higsiga 2016-ka.
Ugu danbayntii Ra’iisul Wasaaraha C/wali wuxuu hadalkiisa ku soo gabagabeeyey in loo baahan yahay in awooda dhan laysugu geeyo taaba galinta howlaha qorshaysan ee lagu gaarsiinayo dalka doorashooyin xorr ah oo ka dhaca sanada 2016.
EXCLUSIVE: LEAKED CONVERSATION BETWEEN SOMALI PRESIDENT AND FARAH SHEIKH ABDULQADIR
EDITOR’S NOTE: Puntlandi has received and verified the authenticity of series of SMS messages between Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his powerful Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir. The text messages exchanged between January 2013 and January 2014 offer a fascinating and revealing insights into the working of the Hassan Sheikh Mohamud administration and the incredible power men like Farah Sheikh Abdulqaidr wield in influencing public policy in Somalia. We has obtained multiple collections of the SMS messages; however, due to security and safety of people involved has chosen not to publish the entire collection of the messages at this time.
Puntlandi might revisit the remaining unpublished documents at a later date with the aim of enlightening and informing the Somali public how their government operates, and the way policies are formulated. Furthermore, these texts also provide insight into the roots of the current fundamental basis of political infighting between the Prime minister and the President and why the country is currently in a political gridlock. A significant portion of the SMS messages occur during the political conflict between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his former Prime Minister Farah Abdi Shirdon. Then and now, Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir has been at the center of both political confrontations making the disclosures of these SMS messages significant in understanding the roots of Somalia’s political dysfunctions.
Born in a small market border town between Kenya and Ethiopia approximately 1963, Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir hails from a religious family and from a very young age received his religious education. Following the collapse of the military regime of Mohamed Siyad Barre, Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir became the president of the Somali chapter of Africa Muslim Agency which was an influential charity organization supported by leading business community and governments of the Gulf countries especially Kuwait and Qatar.
Farah’s involvement with the Africa Muslim Agency provided him with the crucial opportunity to cultivate ties among the powerful groups in the Arab world. These ties proved vital in 2012 when Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir engineered the political campaign of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and successfully propelled a relatively unknown man into Villa Somalia easily beating established political heavyweights such as the then incumbent President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
To say President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is indebted to Farah is an understatement. Since the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Farah Abdulqadir has personally overseen and approved nearly every critical piece of policy forwarded by the government raising allegations that Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir was the de facto president of Somalia. These allegations gained momentum during the firing of former Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon in December 2013 when disagreements between the then State Minister for the Presidency Farah Abdulqadir and the Prime Minister ultimately led to the sacking of the prime minister by the parliament in a motion of no confidence engineered by Farah Abdulqadir.
The texts obtained by Puntlandi are evidence to the magnitude of power Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir holds over President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Much of the correspondence between the two shows a remarkable power structure and who is in essence in charge of the decisions. What becomes evident is that there seems to be a tendency from the President’s side to constantly update, verify, and ask for permission from Farah.
It is then Farah who will give the go ahead, or disapprove of some of issues which require decision. In principle, it becomes clear that the President is unable to move or decide on issues without approval from Farah. Some might argue that this is not entirely surprising given the role Farah has played in the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, or is there any other factor that contributes to the docility of the President of the Federal Government of Somalia?
Regardless, the strange power relation between the President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Farah Abdulqadir is currently costing him a second Prime Minister and is putting the country in a political deadlock. This might explain why a minor cabinet reshuffle has become a major political crisis at a time Somalia is facing humanitarian disaster and with constant threats from Al Shahab. For President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the choice is simple: he either stays in power with Farah on his side, or the entire cabinet can fall.
This is very unfortunate for the progress made in Somalia as well as denting the optimism the Somali people harbored for this administration, who are gradually coming to understand the dynamics behind the continuation of political unrest in the Somali Government: President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud will not continue without his strongest ally Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir.