So far, there have been no political consequences in Somalia of the suspension decided on 26 December by Farmajo against Roble, who is considered guilty of having plotted an “indirect” coup by going beyond his mandate to organise the elections – and, more prosaically, is also considered to be involved in corruption. The Prime Minister can in fact only be removed by a vote of the Parliament (National Assembly), now in prorogation like the President himself.
The latter does not seem to be able to gather the necessary majority around him. Not even Roble – who has refused the suspension announcement and ordered civil servants and above all the Army to comply with his orders – appears to be so solid as to be able to build a fully alternative to the presidential clan.
As a result, the pre-existing divisions within, in particular, the armed components have been exacerbated. Units loyal to Roble and to Farmajo take to the streets of Mogadishu and greater tensions ensue, although this has not resulted in violent episodes. Attacks attributable to Al Shabaab terrorism struck both in Mogadishu with one victim and in the city of Balcad, about 30 km from the capital, causing four victims (16 according to other sources) and eight wounded soldiers and civilians.
However, if Farmajo’s initiative is to be read as an attempt by the Presidency to influence the vote for the Lower House in order to ensure Farmajo’s re-election, this outcome seems unlikely. Pressures from within and from the international community has been sufficient to avoid an involution in the Horn of Africa now that the winds of war in Ethiopia have died down.
It is mainly the United States that has taken the lead in this regard. The US Embassy, then AMISOM (African Union Mission in Somalia), then the United States together with the European Union and the UN have all expressed concern about the situation and called on the leaders to speed up the path to elections. To date, 24 out of 275 MPs have been elected.
Calls for unity and calm have also come from within, for example from members of the security forces, who have called for unity and neutrality from the military and police. Roble on the other hand can still use his good offices with the Presidents of Jubaland and Puntland to speed up voting operations, as seen in the first days of 2022.
The resignation of Puntland Electoral Commission Chairman Salah is a signal that seems to asseverate the barometer of Somali politics still turns – while still swinging between storm and rain – in favour of the PM.