Prime Minister unveils a cabinet of technocrats

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Mogadishu, Somalia (SOMALI AGENDA) – Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke has today unveiled his second nomination of the cabinet in his latest attempt to break the political gridlock that has paralyzed Somalia for months now. The lean cabinet contains numerous new faces.

Conspicuous by the absence of key presidential allies and backers of former Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, the cabinet is considerably smaller than the one previously nominated by the Prime Minister. The earlier nomination of the cabinet which met extensive condemnations by both the parliament and the United Nation’s Special Representative for Somalia Nick Kay undermined trust between the Federal Government and the International Community prompting ambassador Kay to write a scathing email obtained by SOMALI AGENDA on the composition of the cabinet. In particular, the ambassador attacked the appointments of the President’s friends on key portfolios concerning the New Deal Compact.

In the new cabinet, outgoing Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister is replaced by veteran Al Jazeera correspondent and president’s confidante Fahad Yassin who’s now the minister for Ports and Marine Transport. He’s joined by Abdirehman Mohamed “Odawa” the incoming Interior and Federal Affairs Minister and former chairman of the SIMAD University co-founded by President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir. He replaces Abdikarim Guled who previously held the post. These two alongside the incoming Foreign Minister Abdisalan Omar and Abdirazak Omar Mohamed the incoming Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister are considered as the President’s men in the cabinet.

The rest of the parliament contains four offsprings of well-known ministers in the former government of Mohamed Said Barre. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Youth, Sports and Labor is the son of longtime Somali Foreign Minister Mohamed Omar Arte Ghalib. Guled Hussein Qasim the incoming Information and Communication Minister is the son of Barre’s Minister for Minerals and Water Resources best known for his spat with the American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in October 1976.

Ali Ahmed Jama “Jangali” incoming Minister for Transportation and Civil Aviation is the son of veteran Somali politician and insider in Barre’s regime Ahmed Jama “Jangali.” Also among the ministers is Sahra Mohamed Ali Samatar the incoming Minister for Women and Human Rights is the daughter of longtime Somali Vice President General Mohamed Ali Samatar and key architect of the Barre’s Military Coup that dissolved civilian rule in 1969.

The cabinet also includes a seasoned Islamist veteran as the incoming Justice Minister Ahmed Hassan Gabobe who was part of Al Itihad Al Islami and the Islamic Courts Union

As SOMALI AGENDA published on the 18th of this month, Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir proposed to the Prime Minister the replacement of the entire cabinet provided that members of parliament will not be nominated into the new cabinet. As a tentative deal agreed by key stakeholders begun to falter, this nuclear option was finally exercised to both kill the growing momentum of the belligerent parliament and deny the Prime Minister the opportunity to cultivate allies within the National Assembly.

The cabinet unveiled today composed of numerous technocrats is tasked with completing the Vision 2016 objectives set by Somalia’s International Partners as the country inches towards elections in 2016.

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