​Somali prime minister voted out by lawmakers

December 03, 2013 - 8:14:30 am

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s parliament yesterday sacked Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon, citing his government’s poor performance over the past year.

The prime minister, a political newcomer appointed in October last year, fell out with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud over the composition of a new cabinet, prompting no-confidence vote.

Aanalysts and diplomats said a replacement must be appointed soon to end political paralysis after two decades of war and chaos in which the Horn of Africa state was carved up into clan fiefdoms and then ruled by al Shabaab militants.

Western donors had worried the rift would disrupt efforts to shore up nascent institutions of state and defeat Islamists linked to al Qaeda who still control swathes of countryside.

“(Shirdon) and his cabinet ministers had failed,” Somali legislator Ibrahim Suleiman said. “This toppled government had low capacity.”

It could be months before a new cabinet is appointed and then approved by the parliament, which could jeopardise the modest security gains and the limited progress made on building a federal state.

“This is going to disorient the entire political structure,” said Abdi Aynte, director of Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies. President Mohamud had told Western diplomats the bid to remove Shirdon was prompted by the government’s poor performance, made worse by growing discontent among Somalis who want faster progress on delivering change.

“Prime Minister Shirdon in many ways has become a scapegoat for a relative lack of progress — particularly measured against the huge expectations — since the government came to power,” said Paul Gabriel, an analyst for Global Risk Analysis.


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