Tuesday July 26, 2022
Somali Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre addressing the plenary upon his election on June 25, 2022 in Mogadishu. (AFP/File)
MOGADISHU: Somalia’s parliament agreed on Monday to give Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre more time to form a government, a month after his appointment in the Horn of Africa nation.“In order to form a ... balanced government, it is necessary that I spend sufficient time in consultations with various politicians of the country and civil society,” Barre said in a statement released on Monday.
Barre was initially expected to name a Cabinet within 30 days of his appointment on June 25 but said the delays were due to the country’s protracted election process that culminated in May with the selection of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as president.
Observers have voiced hope that Mohamud’s presidency will draw the line under a political crisis that blighted the rule of his predecessor Mohamed Abdullahi Mohammed, better known as Farmajo, and threatened to plunge Somalia back into violent chaos.
Barre vowed to establish a government within 10 days after parliament approved the extension.
“The prime minister asked for an extension of 10 days, and this seemed credible because ... the prime minister is in consultation with other stakeholders,” said Mohammed Dhabancad, one of the legislators.
The new government will face a host of challenges, including a looming famine and a grinding Islamist insurgency.
A crippling drought across the Horn of Africa has left about 7.1 million Somalis — nearly half the population — battling hunger, with more than 200,000 on the brink of starvation, according to UN figures.
The Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabab also continues to flex its muscles by carrying out deadly attacks, underscoring the difficult task ahead for the country’s new leaders.
The militants were driven out of the capital Mogadishu in 2011 by an African Union force but still control swathes of countryside and frequently strike civilian and military targets.