By Ahmed Ibrahim, Ph.D
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kheyre popularity has slipped since the 2017 election, because of their inaction and mostly talk, as well as their lack of vision, strategy and concrete policies in addressing the enormous challenges facing Somalia. Also their association and wielding an absolute power to Fahad Yasin, Chief of Staff of Villa Somalia, didn’t help but worsened the discontent of Somalis to their leaders. Fahad, a former Al-Jazeera Arabic correspondent is Qatar proxy leader in Somalia. Fahad is a member of Al-Islah Movement, the Muslim Brotherhood in Somalia and was a member of Al-Itihad Al-Islamiya. Al-Itihad Al-Islamiya was considered as a foreign terrorist organization by the United States, and the United Kingdom.
President Farmaajo while campaigning called out former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his team for their failures. However, after his election, he surrounded himself with President Hassan Sheikh cronies. Where is the change!
The perception in Somalia and the across many capitals is that President Farmaajo is being manipulated by Fahad, who is running the affairs of the country. When President Farmaajo took power last year, he was celebrated as a new kind of a Somali leader. However, Farmaajo has shown to be frail, and beholden to Fahad, and Qatari influence.
Worse yet, Fahad has succeeded to undermine Farmaajo and Kheyre’s ties with allied governments including the United States, discreetly aligning Somalia with Qatar and its proxy allies Iran and Ethiopia. The alliance with Qatar has had negative impact on the Somalia’s image and standing with the International Donors that are crucial to Somalia’s security, and economic development, according to reports.
Somali political leaders and the public remain profoundly dissatisfied with President Farmaajo’s leadership, and unwillingness to control Fahad’s widespread abuse of power and corruption. They object to the notion that Fahad, an unelected former Aljazeera staffer with no national security or foreign policy experience is running roughshod over President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Kheyre, using the National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) and other government institutions to abuse rule of law and settle political scores with opposition figures.
Undermining and corrupting the judiciary and abuse of rule of law by Fahad has become a major concern over the past year. As a result of these developments, U.S. support to Somalia is in serious jeopardy, according to western diplomats. The U.S. patience with President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Kheyre has been running very low, leading to the suspension of all support to the Somali National Army.
Grading year one of the presidency.
President Farmaajo is the elected leader of Somalia, and the buck stops with him, my analysis will objectively focus on how he performed based on the promises he made to the Somali people and their representatives before and after last years election.
Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim
Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim is a former senior United Nations official who served in the Africa, the Middle East and the United Nations in New York. Dr. Ibrahim is a security and development consultant as well as freelance writer based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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