News Analysis: Kampala Accord exposes new Somali political reality

08:28, June 14, 2011      

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With the announcement of Somalia' s cabinet led by Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed that the premier will not abide by the Kampala Accord, which demanded his resignation in attempt to end the months-long political deadlock between the president and parliament speaker, the country's politics has taken a new dimension.

Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Speaker of the parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adam signed the agreement in the Ugandan capital Kampala aimed at ending months of political wrangling, but the deal ignited the huge latent support the premier enjoyed for months.

Massive protests in support of the Prime Minister whose planned resignation was a key condition for the implementation of the accord took off in the capital Mogadishu and other provinces controlled by government forces.

It has been known that the premier was widely respected among local people particularly those in the capital as he managed to deal with security and governance after government forces made marked inroads into insurgent-run parts of Mogadishu and other parts in the south and his resolve to deal with runaway corruption.

But the spontaneous expression of popular support for the Prime Minister who was in government for just nine months is "something of a novelty" in Somalia politics and gave him a new found political popular mandate which resulted in his refusal to resign.

"This is a new phenomena in Somalia where differences between politicians remain in the political sphere and never seen expressed in the popular scene. But this time people are having their say about the way out of this mess," Mohyadeen Ali, a Somali academic, told Xinhua.

The popular support expressed by thousands of protesters who took to the streets has put the premier in a stronger position to challenge the accord that both the president and the speaker sought to solve their difference by removing him after one of the sides saw him as "an obstacle," Ali said.

Mohamed Guled, a Somali political scientist in Mogadishu, maintains that despite seemingly the consensus out of the pack in Uganda, dubbed as the Kampala Accord, the rift within the political sides have widened as a result of it and this time it is the president and the speaker on one side and the premier on the other, with the Parliament the only institution that can could have the ultimate word in this conflict. "Now that the PM said he will only leave office after the parliament votes, it seems the ball is now in the court of the Somali lawmakers who will have to decide if politicians agree that there is a need for such a vote at the parliament," Guled told Xinhua.

It remains to be seen if the Kampala Accord holds in the face of popular support for the very Premier it stipulates to remove as a way of compromise between the two opposing sides. Coming out all of this, even stronger analysts contend the outcome of a parliament vote on the Accord, if any, will be decisive one.

Source: Xinhua
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