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Former Teachers Leading A Country!
by Leyla Mohamed
Thursday June 30, 2022


Former two lecturers and longtime friends in the politics and education sector, H.E Hassan Sheik Mohamud and H.E Hamze Abdi Barre have got the chance to lead the country as president and prime minister respectively.

Both taught at schools and at universities since the tenure of their first careers albeit at different times, president Hassan Sheik was a national school teacher in the late 1980s whereas prime minister Hamze Abdi served as a private school teacher. The new PM was a founding member of and a significant contributor to the private educational networks in Somalia in the early 2000s.

Subsequently, the two became influential and made unrivaled contributions to the education sector. They both had stints at the universities notably Simad University (previously institute) and Mogadishu University as lecturers and heads of departments; producing many professionals who are serving the nation in different capacities.

Nonetheless, their life journeys switched to the political arena and they came together to establish a political party called Peace and Development Party (PDP) which gave birth to their current party; Union for Peace and Development (UPD). At the inception of their political limelight, they engaged the stakeholders and took up massive civic engagement campaigns throughout the country and they have been bosom buddies ever since.

Besides, in the just-concluded overdue elections in the country, Hamze was elected as a member of the 11th parliament following a protracted campaign. In May 2022 Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected as President of the FGS and thirty days later he appointed his old colleague as Prime Minister. The former teachers have got the chance to emulate their gains in the education sector as they take the lead of the country in the next four years. From our end, we wish them all the very best as they strive to take our country to the next level.

Smooth working relationship between the PM and President
The perpetual power struggle between the president and prime minister, which has precluded the government from functioning on numerous occasions, is the one thing that Somalis are sick of. No president has ever outlived that. This is anticipated to be a thing of the past with the appointment of PM Hamza.

To begin with, it is asserted that the two have been acquainted for more than 20 years and have a lengthy working relationship.

This seems to be a ray of hope for every Somali who thinks that if the constitution can't solve the problem, then friendship will. The disagreement between a prime minister and the president, according to pundits, is such a crisis that it has a significant impact on the nation's political instability and causes a huge, dysfunction, political competition, and mistrust.

President Hassan, whose first term spanned from 2012 to 2017 was not an exception then, he faced a crisis with the prime ministers during that time. It is hoped that the president has learned his lesson and that his choice for the position is informed and will ensure that the crisis is averted.

While there is optimism that President Hassan and PM will have a good working relationship, indicators from spoilers and those who want the duo to squabble for their own political gain should not be overlooked. They include major stakeholders who have previously attempted to pit the president against the PM. The good news is that, due to the duo's close relationship, this may not be the case this time.

In his remarks during his appointment, the president stated that Hamza was chosen because of his knowledge, experience, and ability, which is a significant departure from previous appointments, which were based on rewarding loyalty and pleasing one group.

Amending constitution  

One factor that can not be under looked is the provisional constitution that we have in place,  it is the main reason why the nation top leaders always are at loggerheads, at one point the President is given limited mandate as the constitution states that only the prime minister has the power to “appoint and dismiss members of the Council of Ministers.” this doesn’t make sense as Somalia is not Parliamentary system and there should be a correct way of resolving this issue, and the conclusion of the constitution is essential in providing a distinct role for the two.

The constitution also states that the president, as Head of State, appoints the prime minister, who is the head of the government; while this was created to ensure the president does not become dictator, it must be checked and corrected in due course.

But, as a fragile state, Somalia cannot afford a squabble between the two top leaders, and because there is no effective parliament or a legitimate judiciary, the only hope we have is a good chemistry between the prime minister and the president; if the two at the top don't have a good relationship, it only means that the country is in dire crisis, and we need to rely on the understanding of those two at the top to make those institutions effective.

Previous tense history of PM and President

In Somalia, there is a long history of a PM and the president falling out, the most recent of which occurred with the immediate president Mohamed Farmaajo and Prime Minister Hussein Roble, who fell out on many issues and at one point Farmaajo claimed to have dismissed Roble and Roble accused Farmaajo of coup, those scenarios almost brought the country to the brink of war, and Somalis hope it never happens again.

Farmaajo also experienced a significant crisis with his former prime minister Hassan Ali Kheyre; the two had a contentious and bitter disagreement, which led to the abrupt end of Kheyre's term.

In Somalia, every presidents encountered a problem between them and the PM, and more than one prime minister or even more than two at some cases served under single president, and each one leaves under a very ugly war, in fact, only Mohamed Hussein Roble, Mohamed Abdi Yusuf and Abdiweli Gaas are the only PM who finished their attempt without them being kicked out.

Other than Mohamed Abdulahi Farmajo and Abdullahi Yusuf, every other president had more than two prime ministers, which meant that they were more focused on settling personal differences with their respective prime ministers than on addressing pressing development issues.

The news that the prime minister and president are friends and have previously worked together, which will limit misunderstandings between the two, is the main reason why Somalis are accepting and welcoming the appointment of Hamza as the 21st prime minister and they see this as the immediate solution to the crisis of the PM and the president continuous miss understandings.

Many believe that Mr. Hamza will likely complete his term, which would set new records.

Fu’ad Haji Abwali
5 Magazine
[email protected]


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