Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo has quit, ten days after the president and speaker signed a deal agreeing to postpone elections in return for his resignation and the formation of a new cabinet.
Abdiwali Mohamed Ali, the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, was named as acting prime minister.
President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, Parliamentary Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the UN special envoy to Somalia, Augustine P Mahiga, all signed the deal, known as the Kampala Accord, which was aimed at ending an impasse over whether elections should be held this year.
The deal sparked massive deadly protests in Mogadishu from supporters of Farmajo, who saw the US-educated politician as the man most likely to bring peace and stability to a nation riven by two decades of conflict.
"The Kampala Accord is the reason for my resignation, since me remaining as prime minister will conflict with this," Farmajo said. "It’s wise for the interest of the people of Somalia to come first."
Ugandan pressureGeneral Aronda Nyakairima
Farmajo had refused to resign, saying he would respect the will of the people, but he had come under increasing pressure to abide by the agreement.On Friday, a Ugandan general flew to Mogadishu and gave Farmajo 72 hours to resign . Uganda is a major contributor to the African Union peacekeeping force in Mogadishu. According to a cabinet minister, General Aronda Nyakairima delivered a letter from Museveni, who had pressured the Somali leaders into signing the deal, telling Farmajo he should go.Farmajo also met members of the 9,000-strong peacekeeping mission, known as AMISOM, in Villa Somalia early Sunday as the Ugandans, concerned about the protests and instability in the government, kept up the pressure on the premier. Sheikh Sharif and the AMISOM force commander were all present at the meeting where Farmajo quit.Farmajo thanked the Somali people for their support, and called for whichever government would come next to continue the fight against Islamist insurgent group al-Shabaab.The speaker had opposed a one-year extension to the government's mandate, which is due to expire in August, but agreed to back a delay in exchange for a new cabinet with positions for his allies.The US-educated Farmajo was an unknown quantity when he was appointed in October last year, taking over from Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, who resigned after a long-running spat with Sheikh Sharif.
However, analysts say since he took over soldiers began to receive regular wages for the first time, he took a stand against widespread corruption and the government began to press al-Shabaab, gaining ground in the border regions and in the capital, helping to boost his popularity and raise hopes for the future.
"I am going to stay here in Somalia, contrary to many people's expectation that I will leave my motherland," Farmajo said. "I will stand by my people and assist the new administration."
Both Sheikh Sharif and Ali, the acting prime minister, praised Farmajo for his work.
"I am very disappointed that Farmajo is leaving office, but I hope that he will be work with the government," Ali said.
Al-Shabaab pleased with departureResidents of Mogadishu were sad to see Farmajo go, but fatalistic after years of political squabbling. Contrary to many people’s expectation, no demonstrations were launched. Aden had returned to Mogadishu earlier in the day, and trouble was expected, as many protesters had threatened violence against him for his political machinations.
"It’s quite unfortunate to see a like Farmajo just come and go, but its normal in Somalia since no one wants a leader who is committed to Somalia,” Layla, a cloth dealer in Hamar Wayne, told Somalia Report.
Farmajo was also extremely popular with the armed forces, and some fear his departure may lead to the recent military gains being forfeited.
"Now the TFG forces may lose the newly acquired bases, since soldiers paid allegiance to Prime Minister Farmajo whom they saw as their saviour,” a retired TFG soldier guarding a lawmaker’s house told terror free somalia.
In al-Shabaab administered parts of Mogadishu, Farmajo’s resignation was welcomed by the insurgent group. Foreign al-Shabaab fighters, who led prayers in Masjid Abu Hudheyfa in the Bakara Market, were said their problems would now lessen and the Jihad would progress swiftly after the infidel and his forces “lose morale”.