President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia announced Monday that Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble had been suspended, a day after the two men clashed over the country’s long-delayed elections.
“The president decided to suspend Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble and revoke his powers because he has been linked to corruption,” the president’s office said in a statement, accusing the premier of interfering with a land grabbing investigation.
The president, also known as Farmajo, and Roble have had a tense relationship for a long time, with the latest developm
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After Farmajo withdrew the prime minister’s mandate to organize the elections and called for the formation of a new committee to “correct” the shortcomings, Roble accused the president of sabotaging the electoral process.
Farmajo did not want to hold “a credible election in this country,” according to Roble, who has not responded to Monday’s suspension announcement.
After the premier sacked the defence minister and replaced him on Sunday, Farmajo accused Roble of attempting to sway a probe into a scandal involving army-owned land.
According to Monday’s statement, “the prime minister has pressured the minister of defence to divert the investigations of the case relating to the grabbed public land.”
For months, Somalia’s elections have been hampered by delays.
– The US is ‘extremely concerned’ –
After Farmajo extended his term without holding new elections, pro-government and opposition fighters opened fire in the streets of Mogadishu in April.
The constitutional crisis was only resolved when Farmajo reversed the term extension and Roble arranged for a vote schedule.
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However, a bitter rivalry between the men derailed the election once more in the months that followed, alarming international observers.
Farmajo and Roble only agreed to put the past behind them in October, when they issued a joint statement calling for the sluggish election process to be sped up.
Somalia has not held a one-man, one-vote election in 50 years, and its elections are conducted using a complicated indirect model.
All states’ upper house elections have concluded, and voting for the lower house began in early November.
The appointment of a president, on the other hand, appears to be a long way off, straining relations with Western allies who want the process to end peacefully.
The US said on Sunday that it was “deeply concerned” by the “continuing delays and procedural irregularities that have undermined the process’ credibility.”
Analysts say the election impasse has distracted from Somalia’s larger problems, most notably the violent Al-Shabaab insurgency.
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The Al-Qaeda allies were driven out of Mogadishu a decade ago but retain control of swathes of countryside and continue to stage deadly attacks in the capital and elsewhere.