Somali political turmoil could lead to gov't collapse: analysts

20:55, May 19, 2010      

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The dramatic political development of this week in Somalia that saw the resignation of the Speaker and the refusal of the Somali prime minister to accept the president's decision to sack him could lead to further deepening of the longstanding rift and "possibly total collapse of the UN- backed government", warned analysts.

The differences between the sides within the fragile government of Somalia has been simmering for some time but fully came to light on Sunday after the holding of the first session of the parliament this year after almost five months of prolonged recess because of the division, insecurity and the lack of proper venue to meet.

At the newly rebuilt former national assembly building, in disuse for almost 20 years, opposing lawmakers gathered but instead of getting to business cheering, booing and shouting by opposing MPs mired the session.

Many lawmakers who also happen to be members of Prime Minister Omar Abdelrashid's cabinet argued that the term of Speaker Sheikh Adan Madoobe ended late last year while supporters of the speaker contend otherwise and pushed a motion on government accountability.

The speaker emerged from the parliament session to announce to the media, which was asked out of the parliament building during the session, that a vote of no confidence against the government was carried out and that the president should appoint a new Prime minister.

Other MP's, who support the premier, soon announced that they named a new speaker to replace Adan Madoobe who they said lost a vote of confidence the parliament session held.

"The ugly incident at the parliament on Sunday was something that did not help in the resolution of the divide within the government but further heightened the tension," Somalia analyst Mohamed Mumin told Xinhua in Mogadishu.

Amidst all this the Islamist rebels opposed to the government took advantage of the situation and launched a deadly mortar attack against the parliament building, igniting a heavy response from government forces and African Union peacekeepers who shelled Islamist held parts of the capital.

Almost thirty were killed and more than 60 others were wounded in the exchanges of shelling and gunfire.

On Monday the Somali president held joint conference with the speaker who tendered his resignation saying it was for the national interest.

But the Somali President made a surprise announcement to sack his prime minister and promised to name a new one soon and that was the biggest bomb shell, say Dahir Guure, a political scientist based in Mogadishu.

"I think the fight against the insurgency is the more pressing priority for this government than the senseless political infighting that could possibly lead to the total couples of the UN- backed government," Guure told Xinhua.

Guure contends all will depend on the next move by the top leadership and efforts they made to calm things down.

The international community , say analysts here, has a crucial role to play in finding solution for the current political crisis in Somalia and the first thing they should do is not to take sides in the already tense situation.

Since its formation the Somali government, which controls only parts of the capital Mogadishu, has beset by the determined Islamist rebels who wage almost daily attack on the government forces and African union peacekeepers backing them.

Source: Xinhua


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