Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo, an official of the Somali Federal Government whose current job title is difficult to name because the title of “former president”doesn’t properly fit him here as he is still in office without mandate. So is the title of the Caretaker President without any official references or legal tools. Nobody knows how to address him. Most Somali media address him “Madaxweynaha Xilkiisii dhamaaday” (the president whose mandate had expired). He is a sort of a defacto occupier of Villa Somalia, following the end of his term in office in February 8, 2021.

Farmaajo had come to power through demagoguery of working towards holding one person one vote general elections in Somalia, a trick that had backfired and been exposed as he intended by this to engage in sham elections after topling most, if not all non-compliant leaders of the Federal Members States (FMS). As he failed in his deceptive plan, he decided to stay on by seizing power with force and constitutional coup through illegal means that attempted to extend his term by two more years. That too has failed badly. He was compelled to transfer power to a Caretaker prime minister to conduct election-related operations of the Government. He has been keeping low profile for a while. Finally, he got uncomfortable with the slow, but independent operations and decisions of the prime minister.

It is noteworthy to remind people that prime minister Rooble took a number of provocative and controversial decisions and foreign trips that marginalized Mohamed Farmaajo’s role in the Executive Branch of the FGS. It is one of the basis for this political conflict.

Farmaajo’s chance to avenge Rooble appeared when he had reinstated Kulane, a NISA officer fired by Rooble a little more than a month ago. Rooble didn’t counter-act and let it go that time. This had encouraged Farmaajo to push back Rooble’s unilateral operations. Constitutionally, the prime minister’s executive power is drawn from the Council-in-Session. He has no powers outside the cabinet. But, a new political situation sets in: The executive powers of the Federal Government have shifted to the leaders of the peripheries, the FMS, as far as the election issues are concerned. Now, suddenly the powers of the prime minister is FMS-based. Farmaajo, therefore, saw diminishing returns for his re-election prospect as there is no predictable chance to manipulate the election. The dismissal of Fahad Yassin now is the biggest and last Farmaajo’s political chance to challenge Rooble and leaders of the FMS. He has two objectives in this manufactured confrontation:

  • To prolong his stint in Villa Somalia.
  • To derail the electoral process, which he sees it as unfavorable for his re-election bid, but most importantly, not to allow the persecution of his influential strategic and financial supporter on re-election campaign, Fahad Yassin.

Now that the two men have dug-in positions, it is difficult to bridge the gap in a compromise without serving justice to the family of Ikram Tahlil and people of Somalia.

Most leaders of the FMS would probably side with the position of the prime minister. International Partners are expected to express support to the prime minister’s efforts to avoid derailing the election plans. Farmaajo’s position is unsupportable as it is unsustainable.

(Photo above: former Speaker and Deputy Speaker trying to mediate the two men. Body language here hides no secrets.)

Postscript: One should know that, NISA under Farmaao and Fahad, is a subversive political and security institution organized to eliminate, blackmail and harass political opponents of Mohamed Farmaajo. Reshuffling directors within NISA by Farmaajo the other night will not absolve Fahad Yassin and others of heinous crimes committed under his watch. Finally, and as usual, the rumor mills in Somalia surrounding the disappearance of Ms Ikram were busy producing alternative reports and conspiracy theories about her fate. Some say she is still alive in Kenya in the hands of foreign intelligence services. One can only rely on NISA statement on her disappearance. As it clearly appears now the political confrontation between Farmaajo and Rooble has degenerated into purely power struggle. One has to win. It has reached at a point of no return.

(This article has been updated since posting).


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