- President Farmaajo says he has fulfilled his promise to pay salaries and food rations to the military but SNA has not defeated Al-Shababaab
- President admits there have been salary delays for the military in the last three months
- Analysts accuse the president of avoiding responsibility
President Mohamed Farmaajo has put the military to task over what he termed as ‘unfulfilled targets’ to contain the Al-Shabaab scourge distancing himself from blame as his administration grapples with an ongoing impasse over salary delays for soldiers.
Addressing the military top brass at General Gordon Military Academy in Mogadishu Monday, Farmaajo said he had done his part in line with promises made after his election in 2017 but that the military had not delivered its side of the bargain.
“In the last two years apart from the last three months have you not been receiving your salaries and your food regularly? Are the armed forces that you are commanding been receiving the salaries?” President Farmaajo asked the SNA commanders. “We have fulfilled our promises that we made. So in your turn now have you eliminated Al-Shabaab militants from the country in the last two years?
The President’s come amid an open protest by sections of the military some of which have vacated their bases in Bala’ad, Qalimo and Jowhar and Mahaday in Middle Shabelle region. Another group of soldiers in Barawe told the media over the weekend they were on course to downing their tools owing to the salary delays.
In the speech, the President publicly admitted there was a salary delay for the military contrary to Prime Minister Hassan Khaire’s assertion that only those who had not registered themselves under the new biometric system had not been paid.
As commander in chief of the Somalia National Army, the President’s attempts to distance himself from failure to defeat Al-Shabaab in line with his pre-election pledges may not find a soft landing as far as assessments on his performance in the last two years go.
In a hard-hitting review of the Farmaajo presidency over the last two years, the Mogadishu based think tank Heritage Institute for Policy Studies (HIPS) said last week the current administration had failed to implement agreed security frameworks and instead operated in firefighting mode.
“The security plans envisioned at the London Conference were not implemented. Instead, the government created command instability by changing army, police and intelligence commanders several times over. Meanwhile, Al-Shabaab continued its destabilization and terror campaigns, wreaking havoc in Mogadishu,” said HIPS.
Hussein Sheikh Ali, the founder of Hiraal Institute in Mogadishu dismissed the President’s remarks as excuses. “What President Farmaajo is doing is using the military as a scape-goat. Defeating Al-Shabaab is a not only SNA responsibility but a collective one.”
“It is he (Farmaajo),” said Ali, “Who made the pledges and should therefore take responsibility instead of blaming others.”
In his pre-election manifesto, Farmaajo said he would rid Somalia of Al-Shabaab within two years of election but two years later, the country is still heavily reeling from Al-Shabaab attacks. The militant group struck the Labour Ministry Saturday killing the ministry’s deputy minister and at least 14 other people. It also launched four other IED attacks within the city in the same day.
“My vision is to defeat Al-Shabaab in the next two years,” Farmaajo told a gathering of senior AMISOM officials in February 2017 barely a week after his election.
Faramaajo, Monday, also wondered why the same SNA managed to kick out Al-Shabaab in 2011 during his brief tenure as PM but the current military is not able to fulfil its promises to rid the country of the militants.
The soldiers asked me if I paid their salaries they would kick out Al-Shabaab in three months and they did, the President said.