Cablegate: Somalia - Pm and President Disagree On Cabinet
PP RUEHDE RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHNR #2652/01 3291456
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241456Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7701
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC 3101
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 NAIROBI 002652
DEPT FOR AF/E AND A/S FRAZER
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - PM and President Disagree on Cabinet
REF: A) Nairobi 2520 B) Nairobi 2643
1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In a November 16 press conference, Transitional
Federal Government (TFG) Prime Minister Hassan Hussein "Nur Adde"
announced the new cabinet members he submitted to President Yusuf
(see paragraphs 6-8). President Yusuf has rejected the Prime
Minister's cabinet on legal grounds. There are no members of the
Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS), as this interim
cabinet would be in office only until a unity government is formed.
At his announcement, the PM stated that President Yusuf rejected the
list in a bid to "block the peace process." While the parliament
has not convened in weeks because many of its representatives remain
in Nairobi, they are expected to return to Baidoa in the coming
days. Many expect that once the MPs arrive, they will convene a
session to ratify the new cabinet, even without Yusuf's approval.
Still others suggest that the parliament may move either to impeach
President Yusuf, or end the tenure of the Prime Minister on the one
year anniversary of his appointment. END SUMMARY.
President Rejects the Cabinet Appointments
2. (SBU) To implement Article 13 of the October 29 IGAD agreement
calling for the appointment of a cabinet, the PM developed a slate
along the 4.5 formula for clan representation, but only replaced the
ministers who resigned in August over a political dispute between
the PM and President Yusuf. PM Nur Adde retained his eight key
allies on the cabinet, three of whom are from the PM's own Hawiye
clan, two who are Digil and Mirifle, and one from the Dir clan whose
power-base is in Somaliland. President Yusuf has unequivocally
rejected this list and the PM's selection process as "illegal" (Ref
B). The Prime Minister, working with a block of parliamentarians,
is said to be planning to use the 1960 constitution to ratify the
new cabinet even without President Yusuf's approval.
3. (SBU) Despite meeting in London, being summoned by Ethiopia
(though never meeting face-to-face in Addis), President Yusuf and PM
Hussein have failed to reach an agreement on the new cabinet.
Although President Yusuf still has not agreed to the new composition
of the cabinet, on November 16, the Prime Minister called a press
conference in Nairobi and named a new cabinet. ith the media, the
PM spoke brazenly against President Yusuf accusing him of personally
blocking Somalia's peace process. The PM's public statements
directly antagonized President Yusuf who struck back with his own
accusations in the press.
Currying Parliamentary Support
4. (SBU) At a meeting with 175 MPs loitering in Nairobi after the
October IGAD summit, the Prime Minister may have jumpstarted a
protracted campaign to impeach President Yusuf. Some MPs have told
us that the Speaker of Parliament, who is in Baidoa, has agreed to
table the impeachment motion as soon as the MPs return. President
Yusuf is also wooing MPs, possibly with money he reportedly
collected during meetings with the Libyan and Sudanese governments.
We understand that President Yusuf's strategy is to press parliament
to schedule a hearing in Baidoa marking PM Hussein's one year
anniversary in office. At this hearing, one of Yusuf's advisors
told us, the PM will be forced to "answer for his failings and
illegal use of power. At that time, it will be clear that he will
have to go."
5. (SBU) It is impossible to predict which way the parliament will
move. Indications are that even with cash in hand, President Yusuf
may have lost most of his support. If PM Hussein is successful at
getting his cabinet through parliament, it will signal a significant
coup for the embattled Prime Minister. If ratified, the Prime
Minister's new cabinet will replace the ten ministers and three
deputy ministers who reportedly resigned and add fourteen new deputy
ministers. Thus the cabinet would increase from 23 (18 ministers
and five deputy ministers) to 36 (18 ministers and 18 deputy
ministers). The composition of Nur Adde's proposed cabinet follows
in paragraphs 6-8.
Some Ministers Retained Their Positions
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6. (SBU) Minister who retain their positions include:
-- National Security and Internal Affairs Minister Muse Nur Amin
-- Finance and Planning Minister Mohamed Ali Hamud (Digil
-- Air and Land Transportation and Ports Minister Mohamed Ibrahim
Habsade (Digil and Mirifle/Mirifle)
-- Agriculture, Water and Rural Development Minister Mustafa Ali
-- Labor and Social Affairs Minister Abdiaziz Hassan Muhamad
-- Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister Hussein Muhammad Muse
-- Minister of Health Abdalla Haji Ali (Dir/Isaq)
Also remaining is Ahmed Abdisalan Adan, Deputy Prime Minister and
Minister of Information, Youth Affairs and Sports (Hawiye/Habar
Gedir/Ayr). Adan is a key embassy contact, a Djibouti Process
leader, and staunch ally of PM Hussein. Adan will likely continue
his important work on the reconciliation process he began in
Mogadishu that culminated in the November 23 establishment of a
Banadir Region administration (septel).
PM Proposes Ten New Ministers
7. (SBU) Prime Minister Hussein has posed several allies, but also
many who made the list are staunch Yusuf supporters who have been
closely allied to the TFG President for years. The PM's proposed
new (and not-so-new) faces include:
-- Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation: Ahmed Mohamud
Goonle (Darod/Dulbahante) - A former banker, Goonle maintains a low
profile in parliament. Formerly a Yusuf ally, he now backs the
-- Defense: Abdalla Boos Ahmed (Dir/Isaq). Ahmed served as state
minister and deputy minister in Gedi's cabinet. He is a High Level
Committee leader and a well-regarded political strategist with a
background in marine studies. He opposes Somaliland independence,
despite his being from the region.
-- Reconciliation, Regional Development and Federal Affairs:
Abdiwahid Elmi Omar (Darod/Marehan). A former MP who was expelled
from parliament by Yusuf in 2006, Elmi did not accompany the "free
parliament" to Asmara. He is closely allied with former speaker
Sharif Hassan Adan.
-- Trade, Industry and Tourism: Abdirahman Osman Dirir
(Dir/Gadubirsi). Dirir served as state minister and deputy minister
under Gedi and is a close Yusuf ally. He has finance experience and
was a senior banker during the Siad Barre regime.
-- Justice and Religious Affairs: Ismail Abdi Mohamed (Digil and
Mirifle/Garre) - A diplomat in the Siad Barre regime, he last served
in Baghdad as deputy consul. This would be his first ministerial
appointment. Mohamed opposed Yusuf over Gedi's forced resignation.
-- Education and Culture: Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail (Dir/Biyamal)
-Ismail was the first TFG Foreign Affairs Minister. He is a
parliamentary rules expert (serving as translator/rapporteur under
Siad Barre), is respected and popular among MPs, and is regarded by
most as a "liberal."
-- Mineral and Natural Resources: Abdirahman Jama Abdalla
(Darod/Warsangeli). Abdalla was among first ministers to rebel
against Gedi and resigned as minister in protest of the former PM.
He worked closely with President Yusuf during his tenure as Puntland
-- Public Works, Housing and Reconstruction: Ibrahim Habeb Nur
(Hawiye/Hawadle). Nur was one of the founders of United Somali
Congress (USC), a Hawiye-based political organization largely
responsible for dislodging Siad Barre from Mogadishu. Known for his
pro-Hawiye activism, Nur was a military intelligence officer under
Siad Barre and is a stanch critic of President Yusuf.
-- Gender Development and Family Affairs: Fahma Ahmed Nur (minority
clan - Banadiri). The only woman to be named in this cabinet, Nur
served as Deputy Minister of National Security and Internal Affairs
since the inception of the TFG. A pragmatic lawyer, her loyalties
lie with the regime in power.
--- Post and Communications: Ahmed Sheikh Mohamed "Lahos"
(Darod/Ogaden). Lahos was military colonel in the Siad Barre
For Each Minister, a Deputy
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8. (SBU) In this new cabinet, the propose number of deputy
ministers swells the cabinet from 23 to 36, with one deputy for each
ministry. Only one deputy minister retained his position -- Deputy
Minister Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdikarim
Ahmed Ali (Hawiye/Gugundabe). The other proposed deputy ministers
-- Mohamud Mohamed "Vekiyo" (Darod/Lelkase) - Finance and Planning;
-- Ismail Hassan Mohamud "Timir" - Constitution and Federal Affairs;
-- Hassan Maalim Hussein - Public Works, Housing and Reconstruction;
-- Mohamed Sheikh Yusuf - Justice and Religious Affairs;
-- Bashir Mohamed Adan - Education and Heritage;
-- Ibrahim Isaq Yarow - Information, Youth Affairs and Sports;
-- Abdirashid Mohamed Hiddig - Trade, Industries and Tourism;
-- Mahamud Barre Hassan - National Security and Internal Affairs;
-- Salad Ali Jelle - Defense;
-- Yusuf Gelle Ugas - Transport, Air and Ports;
-- Husein Osman Husein - Mineral and Natural Resources;
-- Ali Hasan Bullow - Agriculture, Water and Land Development;
-- Hasan Ibrahim Mohamed "Japan" - Posts and Communications;
-- Ibrahim Ali Salah - Health;
-- Abdi Omar Ahmed "Ana-nug" - Livestock, Fisheries and Marine;
-- Mohamed Mahamud Adan "Indha-gelle" - Labor and Social Services;
-- Jamilo Said Muse - Gender Development and Family Affairs.