Somali President, Mohamed Names 26-Minister Cabinet

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President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia on Tuesday named a 26-strong cabinet, including a former foreign affairs chief as finance minister and a BBC journalist as the country’s top diplomat.

Mohamed, better known by his nickname, Farmajo, was sworn in February after unseating Hassan Mohamud, whose administration faced public and Western criticism for corruption scandals.

A dual U.S.-Somali citizen and a former prime minister, Mohamed has promised to tackle hunger, corruption and violence in Somalia, which has been mired in civil war for a quarter of a century.

The President on Tuesday, named Abdirahman Beyle as his finance minister and Yusuf Omar as foreign minister.

Beyle, a former economist at the African Development Bank, served as foreign minister from 2014 to 2015. Omar, a dual British-Somali national, was head of the BBC’s Somali language service.

Other appointments included Abdi Juha, a political novice who was named interior minister.

In February, Mohamed made his first senior appointment by naming Hassan Khaire, the former country director of the British company Soma Oil and Gas, as prime minister.

PM News reports that the appointment was controversial, because UN sanctions experts had previously accused the company of paying Somalia’s oil ministry nearly 600,000 dollars to protect a 2013 exploration contract.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office investigated but found insufficient evidence to prosecute.

Somalia has been in turmoil since 1991, hit by decades of conflict at the hands of clan militias.

Over the past several years, it has faced an insurgency by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab, which the government is battling with the help of regional troops.

Mohamed has pledged his people that the era of al Shabaab and other Islamist militant groups was over, promising the group’s fighters “a good life” if they surrendered.

Mohamed’s ministerial list will be put before the parliament for approval in the coming days.

 

Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam

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