Saturday, May 18, 2013
Somalia's prime minister is expected to face a
vote of confidence next week, lawmakers said on Friday, and backers of
the challenge said they were frustrated with the pace of political
Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon
Saaid heads a fledgling government Western capitals say is the best the
strifetorn country has had for decades, determined to improve security,
impose the rule of law and end corruption.
A vote against the prime minister
could threaten the delicate recovery of a nation Western powers have
long seen as a launchpad for militant Islam across east Africa and
beyond, analysts said. One said Saaid was likely to survive.
“(The government) vowed to tackle
many things in the first six months but they have achieved nothing,”
said legislator Dahir Amiin. “The ministers just sit on their seats,
they do not know what is going on.”
Other lawmakers confirmed the motion had been filed and said a debate in the 275-seat chamber was expected on May 22.
The prime minister's office was
not immediately available for comment. Saaid was a relative newcomer to
politics when he was appointed in October last year and widely viewed as
untainted by the clan rivalries that plague Somalia.
said about 100 parliamentarians backed the motion against the prime
minister. He singled out what he said was the government's failure to
pay the armed forces battling al Qaeda-linked militants as a key
Tensions have also escalated
between Mogadishu and the outlying regions over how much central power
should be devolved to the provinces, in what analysts said boiled down
to a struggle to control resources.
A vote of no confidence would be a
blow to Somalia as it strives to shake off the tag of “failed state”
after more than 20 years of civil war and anarchy.
“It would disrupt whatever
progress has been made over the last eight months and hurt international
confidence in Somalia,” said Abdi Aynte, director of the
Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Policy Studies think-tank.
That sentiment is echoed by Saaid's backers in the chamber.
“Our government is now recognized
internationally. If the parliament starts dismantling it, the world will
see us as chaotic,” said lawmaker Khalif Mohamed.
A security analyst predicted the prime minister would survive the vote.
“The vote will fail,” the analyst
said. “This is not a massive rebellion in parliament, it is the first
shot by MPs who are uneasy with the government's policy and approach.