Somali PM unveils leaner cabinet

November 13, 2010 - 1:42:38 am

MOGADISHU: Somalia’s newly appointed prime minister, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed yesterday unveiled an 18-minister cabinet line-up drastically downsized from the previous 39-strong government.

“The Somali people and the international community were waiting for a competent and credible Somali cabinet, and I am happy to appoint this lean but capable cabinet,” he said in a statement.

Only two members of the Western-backed transitional federal government (TFG), which collapsed following a dispute between then premier Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke and President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, kept their jobs.

The new line-up also sees the entry of Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa, a powerful Sufi organisation that took up arms two years ago to fight the Shebab, an Al Qaeda-inspired group that has waged a fierce insurgency against the TFG.

The Sufi group was given the interior and labour portfolios.

Ahlu Sunna wal Jamaa is seen as a key force if the TFG is to pin back the Islamist insurgency but had routinely complained that the outgoing government was refusing to give it its share of power. Hussein Halane heads a consolidated finance and treasury ministry while the foreign ministry and one of the deputy prime minister positions was handed to Mohamed Abdullahi Omaar, who already held the post under Sharmarke’s predecessor.

“Somalia is in good hands,” the president was quoted as saying in the statement. AFP