Somali president suspends prime minister over alleged corruption

Move comes amid election row, premier defies order which he dubs 'outrageous'

Mohammed Dhaysane   | 27.12.2021
Somali president suspends prime minister over alleged corruption


Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Monday suspended Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble over alleged corruption and misuse of public land.

“Whereas Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble is accused in an ongoing investigation on corruption and abuse of public land, the duty and powers of the Prime Minister remain suspended pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigations,” said a statement issued by the president’s office.

It cited that Roble named a new defense minister on Sunday amid the ongoing probe into misuse of public lands owned by the Somali National Army.

The president instructed the rest of the ministers to carry on with their responsibilities in accordance with the country's laws and regulations.

The prime minister, however, defied the order, describing the president's decision to suspend him as "outrageous."

In a statement on Twitter, Roble’s office said the president’s “failed attempt to militarily take over” the office of prime minister was in breach of the Constitution.

"The Prime Minister is carrying out his constitutionally mandated day-to-day duties as usual, and is fully committed to fulfilling his national responsibility to conduct an acceptable electoral process that culminates in a peaceful transition of power,” it said in a separate post.

On Sunday, the president and prime minister traded barbs as the political standoff in the country deepens.

Abdullahi accused Roble of failing to carry out his mandate to lead the country through the elections as he had been entrusted, while Roble countered that Abdullahi was deliberately interrupting the general elections process in the country.

Navy commander also suspended

Earlier, the president also ordered the suspension of the country's marine forces commander who previously accused the prime minister of land grabbing and misuse of public land.

Commander Gen. Abdihamid Mohamed has been under investigation for the last few days and grilled by a military committee appointed by Armed Forces Commander Gen. Odawa Yusuf Rageh.

Late Sunday, Interior Security Minister Abdullahi Mohamed Nur placed a travel ban on the navy commander.

The latest standoff emerged after Somalia's electoral body ousted its chairman Saturday, citing a lack of consultation, violation of electoral procedures, and abandonment of neutrality.

It also comes amid a boycott by opposition presidential candidates, citing a lack of transparency, "widespread voter fraud" and wrongdoings in the election process.

It has been 14 months since Somali leaders reached an election agreement but there are very few tangible achievements to show and now a new concern of armed conflict has emerged in the country.

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