Somalia gambles on clan appeasement as 2016 draws

Mogadishu, Somalia (SOMALI AGENDA) – Somalia’s ongoing efforts to restructure its diplomatic service will continue in the next few weeks as the federal government fills key ambassadorial positions. The ambassadorial appointments will foreshadow what has now become a customary Ramadan cabinet reshuffle in Somalia.

SOMALI AGENDA can now confirm Somalia will soon name ambassadors to Ethiopia, Turkey and the United States. Abdullahi Mohamed Ali, the former director of Somalia’s National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) has been appointed as the country’s ambassador to the Republic of Turkey.

Since 2011, Turkey has been a key player in Somalia with the country bankrolling number of infrastructural expansions and hosting thousands of Somali students through scholarships. The country is also reviving Somalia’s military by training Somali officers and financing military facilities.

The appointment of Abdullahi Mohamed Ali, native of Somalia’s Hiiraan region like President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has the potential to cause political firestorm. Abdullahi Mohamed Ali is known for ordering a predawn assault in the summer of 2014 against Mogadishu’s strategic Wadajir district that targeted political opponents of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud which left dozens dead and destroyed relations between Banadir’s native Mudulood clan and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

In December 2014 along with Farah Sheikh Abdulqadir, a top aide of the president, Abdullahi Mohamed Ali engineered a successful coup that toppled the country’s Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed.

SOMALI AGENDA can additionally confirm that Ahmed Isse Awad will head the Somali mission to the United States. Awad who hails from Puntland region like the Prime Minister will fill the post vacated by Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke.

Hussein Abdi Halane, Somalia’s longtime finance minister will become the country’s ambassador to Ethiopia. He replaces former deputy prime minister Ahmed Abdisalan Adan who is running to lead Galmudug State.

Somalia’s diplomatic service is based on clan power sharing. Kenya, Ethiopia, United States and Italy, the most important diplomatic assignments in Somalia are now held by members of Somalia’s Darod clan giving the clan unparalleled advantage.

On May 6th, the Somali Ambassador to Italy, Mussa Hassan Abdulle helped organize a gathering of the Darod regional states in Somalia. The clan gathering endorsed by the Italian Foreign Ministry underscored the strategic position of the Somali embassies as an indispensable tool to advance clan interests heading to the 2016 election season.

Since coming to power, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has methodically removed key ambassadors in Brussels, Rome and Nairobi, targeting positions held by Somalia’s powerful Hawiye clan. Today, the clan holds no major ambassadorship.

SOMALI AGENDA can also confirm that a cabinet reshuffle is scheduled during or after this year’s Ramadan season. The Foreign Minister, Minister for Planning and International Cooperation, Minister of Health and the Defense Minister are all expected to be reshuffled.

The Governor of Banadir Region Hassan Mohamed Hussein “Mungaab” who was expected to lose his position last year after falling out with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is expected to keep his position this year. The governor now enjoys key support from President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the United Nation’s Special Representative to Somalia Nicholas Kay who see the governor as an important element in blocking plans to Federate Banadir, Somalia’s most populous region.

Experts speaking to SOMALI AGENDA say President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s ambassadorial nominations and blocking popular calls to federate Banadir is a calculated risk to appease ambassador Nicholas Kay and Somalia’s Darod clan heading to the 2016 elections.

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