House okays new cabinet, PM presents ambitious recovery blueprint

President Mohamed Farmaajo (centre) and PM Hassan Khaire during the debate of his  confidence motion March 4, 2017. Parliament Wednesday gave a nod to the PM to form the new government. Photo: Goobjoog News
President Mohamed Farmaajo (centre) and PM Hassan Khaire during the debate of his confidence motion March 4, 2017. Parliament Wednesday gave a nod to the PM to form the new government. Photo: Villa Somalia Handout

Parliament has given Prime Minister Hassan Khaire a nod to form government in a majority vote Wednesday allaying fears of a show down after 105 lawmakers this past week warned the PM of a no vote unless he reviewed his list.

The House gave the PM’s list a clean bill of health with 224 lawmakers out of the possible 275 voting in favour. A spirited fight by the opposing caucus managed to marshal only 15 votes while two others abstained.

President Mohamed Farmaajo who is attending the Arab Summit in Jordan Tuesday appealed to the lawmakers to okay the new cabinet and set aside any reservations to enable the formation of a new government.

Rifts which had built up weeks towards today’s vote seem to have been cleared as most lawmakers fronted a joint position. Out of the 275 members, 241 participated in today’s vote with 34 lawmakers giving the House a wide berth.

The majority vote in the House today nearly mirrors a similar vote for the PM when all lawmakers endorsed him early this month.

Blue print

While prosecuting his case before the House shortly before the vote, the PM presented an ambitious blue print for his government pledging to among others wipe out the scourge of terrorism from Somalia.

“We will finish all acts of terrorism in Somalia and all forms of insecurity,” the PM said in an upbeat mode.

His plan, the PM said was to invest heavily on building the country’s security architecture ranging from the military, police, intelligence and all other support organs.

“We will build a strong and effective security apparatus to ensure we finish any acts of terrorism and insecurity, the PM said.

Al-Shabaab

The militant group Al-Shabaab still remains a portent threat to Somalia’s path to stability and the new administration will need to go the extra mile in securing the country. The African Union mandated force Amisom is preparing a draw down from next year. Kenya’s President whose troops are in Somalia under Amisom said last week in a joint conference with president Farmaajo he will be starting a withdrawal of his troops next year.

“The plan is for a gradual reduction in troops next year; we cannot afford any further delay,” said Kenyatta.

2020 vote

The PM also pledged to ensure the realization of the one person one vote plan in 2020. He called on parliament to expedite the constitutional review process to pave way for a national plebiscite and census ahead of the 2020 vote.

“I urge parliament to move first in completing the constitutional review process. This will be necessary to facilitate a referendum and national census. I will ensure we have a one person one vote,” the PM added

Eradicate poverty

Prime Minister Khaire, a former oil executive also promised his government’s efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger in Somalia. The PM identified job creation, promotion of investment opportunities and war on graft as keys to dealing with poverty and hunger in Somalia.

The country is currently battling what is emerging to be the second famine in six years with scores succumbing to hunger and others displaced as they seek for help.

The UN estimates unemployment rates at 67% among the youth in Somalia in a country with youth making up for upwards of 75% of the population.

On graft, the PM was categorical, “we will eradicate corruption in government.”

The PM announced the crowdfunding initiatives for the drought response nationally had collected $ 2 million and another $20 million received from foreign donors separate from the UN driven initiatives.

Full term

The 26 member cabinet will drive the PM’s agenda with the support of 26 deputies, deputy PM and 15 state ministers in what President Farmaajo said would be a full term. The last 16 years has seen each president having to hire an average of three prime ministers in a full four year term but President Farmaajo sounded positive his administration will see one Prime Minister taking charge to the end.

Other areas of significant concern for the Prime Minister is access to justice among citizens and rule of law. To realise this, the PM said ‘we need a stable society, where respect for life, property and freedoms are protected’.

We will build infrastructure and ensure service delivery to our people, the PM promised in a half hour long speech.

Perennial clan clashes will be a thing of the past, the PM said pledging to launch practical reconciliation initiatives nationally especially in regions where clan clashes remain common over the years.

On the Somaliland question and its endevours to secede, the PM struck a nationalist tone but sounded alive to the quarter century self-determination quest, “While we remain committed to one Somalia, we are cognizant of Somaliland’s concerns.”

 

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