Fears of new Somali cabinet disapproval grow amid parliament’s criticism  

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Members of Somali parliament

in Somalia’s history, cabinet ministers have rarely failed to make it through the parliament, however, Somali legislators who are leading the opposition cited ‘ineffective selections’ and lack of proper political representations among the country’s stakeholders in accordance with the power sharing formula.

By Judy Maina, judy.maina@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – Somali legislators will likely disapprove the new cabinet nominees that is to be presented to the two legislative houses by the prime minister this week, with some of his selections were greeted with sharp criticism from both sides of the political aisle.

in Somalia’s history, cabinet ministers have rarely failed to make it through the parliament, however, Somali legislators who are leading the opposition cited ‘ineffective selections’ and lack of proper political representations among the country’s stakeholders in accordance with the power sharing formula.

More than 100 MPs have held meetings in the Somali capital, in protest of the proposed cabinet nominees, with more MPs are expected to join their ranks, according to officials.

That new cabinet list, with significant members of former NGO leaders, and former members of previous cabinet ministers accused of corruption have sparked a new political storm by some of the country’s political blocs that were unhappy with the prime minister Hassan Ali Kheyre’s initial line-up.

However, Mr. Kheyre said his new cabinet is supposed to be part of long-promised anti-corruption measures that his government needs to deliver. He also reiterated that he selected the new cabinet members because he had wanted a technocratic cabinet independent from the political class.

With the appointment of a 67-member cabinet considered to be the second largest cabinet the country ever had, questions remain whether it will it help the country’s political scene characterized by new leadership, transitory governments and promises to root out corruption.

Once elected, president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has promised his government would cut down government spending  in a bid to help efforts to boost the country’s economy.

In addition to that, fears are growing that many of the new ministerial portfolios in addition to the existing deputy ministers would translate into several budgets for ministries and parastatals alike, as each would have to co-manage the national budget.

According to Jacob Moses, a horn of Africa political expert based in Nairobi, a 67-member cabinet seems to be a ‘parsimonious’ move for Somalia due to estimated costs involved and inefficiency that may follow, with ministers and their deputies would receive monthly salaries between $7000 – $4,000 in addition to at least two cars, free fuel, a house, free utilities and personal protection at exceptionally more challenging time that the country faces one of the worst droughts in history.

Meanwhile, a significant number of Somali lawmakers think highly of the prime minister’s lineups, vowing that they’d vote in favor of the new cabinet which they said would reflect the country’s interests.

“I don’t see a reason MPs would have to raise alarm against the new cabinet. Most of them are technocrats and effective people.” one lawmaker said on condition of anonymity during a telephone interview from Mogadishu.

In the new cabinet, women represent 23 percent in the new cabinet while the diaspora secure 60 percent of the portfolios, according the leading local Somalian radio station, Dalsan.

(Additional reporting and editing by John Thiongo)

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