Somali president to name new Cabinet soon

Somali president to name new Cabinet soon

Published May 17, 2010

MOGADISHU, Somalia – The president of war-weary Somalia said Monday he will name a new Cabinet soon in a bid to overcome divisions that have prevented his government from effectively combating an Islamist insurgency.

Somali law says President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed must nominate new ministers within a month.

"We should not busy ourselves with our differences while an enemy determined to harm the population is in the country," Ahmed said.

The U.N.-backed government only holds a few blocks of the city capital with the help of 5,300 African Union peacekeepers and comes under daily attack from Islamist insurgents, some whose leaders have links to al-Qaida. Ahmed has been in power for over a year but has not delivered either security or social services to the Somali people.

Analysts say his administration has been crippled by divisions between competing factions. On Sunday, parliamentarians meeting for the first time since December spent hours heckling speaker Sheik Aden Madobe. He resigned Monday after a very public disagreement with the prime minister.

Ahmed also needs a Cabinet reshuffle to deliver promised positions to a powerful militia that recently signed a power-sharing agreement with the government. Unless he can deliver the ministries as promised, he will have little chance of tempting other armed groups to participate in his government.

"The move will give the president a chance to show his leadership and that he can name a credible prime minister who can reach out to opposition groups," said Mohamud Uluso, the executive director of Somalia's Center for Governance and Development.

But there's little chance of wooing the opposition for now, said Zakariye Haji Mohamoud of the opposition Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia.

"Nothing will come out of a new government, the current system will never bring peace to Somalia. It will only ignite more differences and wars," he said.

Somalia has not had a functioning government in nearly 20 years.


Muhumed reported from Nairobi, Kenya.

Written by MALKHADIR M. MUHUMED and MOHAMED SHEIK NOR, Associated Press Writers


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