U.S. calls on Somalia’s President and Prime Minister to resolve dispute and complete elections

The United States government on Monday called on the President of Somalia Abdullahi Mohamed and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble who are entangled in a power struggle “to avoid further provocative statements or actions and to resolve their disagreement over personnel appointments and their respective authorities peacefully.” They should also ensure the electoral process moves forward.

“Rapidly completing the electoral process will help advance the country’s counter-terrorism agenda and give the next government the opportunity to meet the needs of Somalia’s people. Somalia’s citizens deserve nothing less,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.

Last week Thursday, President Mohamed suspended the powers of Prime Minister Roble in the latest power struggle between the two leaders.

The president, also known as Farmajo, accused the Prime Minister of making rush decisions, not having good relations with his office, and violating the constitution.

He cited Articles 87 and 90 of Somalia’s provisional constitution to justify his decision to cut Roble’s powers.

The power struggle came just days after the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed visited Mogadishu last week Monday and called on both men to work towards peaceful elections. The long-delayed presidential elections are set for November.

The decree from the president’s office also halted Roble’s powers of hiring and firing pending the completion of the country’s election process.

Farmajo and Roble have been at odds over the firing Monday of former National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) Director Fahad Yassin who was dismissed in connection with the investigation into the disappearance of female spy Ikran Tahlil Farah last June.

NISA had said that Farah was abducted and killed by terrorist group al-Shabab but the militants have denied any involvement.

Price, the U.S. State Deparment spokesperson, said that “cooperation among Somalia’s leaders – particularly President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Roble – is essential to ensure that the country quickly completes its ongoing electoral process. The dispute between President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Roble risks complicating this process and needs to be resolved immediately and peacefully.”

“The United States welcomes both sides’ stated commitment to the electoral process but remains concerned that these elections are already months behind schedule.  Any further delay increases the potential for violence and plays into the hands of al-Shabaab and other extremist groups seeking to destabilize the country,” he added.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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