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Cablegate: Somalia - President's Attempt to Sack Pm Foiled By

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DE RUEHNR #2776/01 3501356
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O 151356Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7902
INFO RUCNSOM/SOMALIA COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
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RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 7438

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NAIROBI 002776

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/E AND A/S FRAZER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EWWT PREL PINS PGOV SO
SUBJECT: SOMALIA - PRESIDENT'S ATTEMPT TO SACK PM FOILED BY
PARLIAMENT

1. (SBU) Summary. Transitional Federal Government (TFG)
President Abdullahi Yusuf's effort to fire the Prime Minister
on December 14 has triggered a backlash from the transitional
Parliament in Baidoa where, on December 15, a reported 143
parliamentarians passed a vote of confidence in the Prime
Minister. Yusuf's decree, and the Parliament's response, set
the scene for the next stage of the confrontation among the
TFG's top leadership. The Prime Minister has told us that he
intends to ask the Parliament to approve his long languishing
transitional cabinet and get down to the business of defining
the shape of the projected TFG - Alliance for the
Re-liberation of Somalia (ARS) unity government. He also
held out the possibility that Parliament will vote no
confidence in the President or even attempt the more
difficult business of impeaching him. President Yusuf, as of
this writing, has not reacted publicly to the Parliament's
vote. End Summary.

------------------
Yusuf Fires
the Prime Minister
------------------

2. (SBU) On December 14, Somali Transitional Federal
Government (TFG) President Abdullahi Yusuf told media he had
signed a decree relieving Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein
"Nur Adde" of his duties. President Yusuf cited Nur Adde's
failure to prepare and submit a new constitution within one
year of his appointment and his failure to create a
functioning government as his reasons for dismissing the
Prime Minister. According to media reports, Yusuf made
thinly veiled references to Nur Adde as corrupt, ineffective
and treasonous. In response, the Prime Minister reportedly
called Yusuf a "liar." This latest crisis marks a new low in
President Yusuf's and the Prime Minister's tumultuous
relationship.

----------------
Yusuf Certain
He Has the Votes
----------------

3. (SBU) Special Envoy for Somalia John Yates reached
President Yusuf by phone in Baidoa on December 14. Unlike
recent conversations with us, Yusuf on December 14 was
resolute and purposeful. He told S/E Yates that 157
parliamentarians backed his decision to sack Nur Adde, and
said he would announce the Prime Minister's successor within
three days. When asked, Yusuf denied widespread rumors that
he had chosen Nur Adde's predecessor, Ali Mohamed Gedi, to
replace the Prime Minister. His choice, Yusuf said, would
"please" members of the international community. (Separately,
at least one member of parliament reported that former Prime
Minister Gedi was returning from Nairobi to Baidoa to
position himself for the prime ministership.)

------------
Pressing the
President
------------

4. (SBU) In separate conversations December 14 and 15 both
SRSG Ould-Abdallah and the Somalia Unit expressed to Yusuf
Advisor Hussein Warsame our unhappiness with Yusuf's
decision. Ould-Abdallah told Warsame that Nur Adde had been
an extremely inclusive Prime Minister who had been attempting
to advance the Djibouti Process. The timing of Yusuf's
decision, on the eve of an International Contact Group that
had high-level international attention, was "most
unfortunate," and would test the patience of many in the
international community. We also told Hussein that we saw
nothing good in a decision to remove Nur Adde, noting that
the one constant in the inability of TFG's prime ministers to
improve governance institutions and complete transitional
tasks was President Yusuf.

-----------------
PM Terms Yusuf's
Decree Illegal;
Parliament Reacts
-----------------

NAIROBI 00002776 002 OF 002

5. (SBU) In a December 14 conversation with us, the Prime
Minister termed Yusuf's decree "illegal," and said he had no
intention of obeying it. Nur Adde said that he fully
expected that the Parliament would approve his transitional
cabinet on December 15, then precede to the formation of a
unity government. (On December 15, the Parliament expressed
confidence in Nur Adde's prime ministership by a vote of 143
- 20 with 7 abstentions, constituting a quorum). Nur Adde
also thought it possible that the parliamentarians, who he
said were unhappy with Yusuf's decree, would at a minimum
vote no confidence in the President. On December 15, there
was no formal discussion in the Parliament of beginning any
no confidence or impeachment proceedings against Yusuf. The
timing of Yusuf's decree, Nur Adde said, had been pegged to
the Prime Minister's intention on December 15 to bypass the
President in getting his proposed cabinet approved. (Note:
Parliament also did not debate this proposed cabinet and
expressed confidence in the existing body.) Yusuf realized
he did not have the votes to block Nur Adde, and elected to
attempt to fire him rather than see himself thwarted by the
Prime Minister.

--------------
Speaker Backs
Prime Minister
--------------

6. (SBU) S/E Yates also spoke to Speaker of the Parliament
Sheikh Aden Mohammed Nur "Madobe." The Speaker told S/E
Yates that, contrary to President Yusuf's calculations, a
majority of parliamentarians supported Nur Adde. The Speaker
joined Nur Adde in predicting that the parliamentarians would
vote no-confidence in the President. The Speaker also noted
there was parliamentary agreement to discuss the Djibouti
talks' proposal for a unity government characterized by a
larger parliament and extended TFG mandate. The SRSG told us
December 15 after a separate conversation with Sheikh Aden
that the Speaker was firmly in the Prime Minister's camp.

Comment
-------

7. (SBU) It is unlikely that Yusuf's resistance to Nur Adde
will end with today's vote by Parliament. He no doubt
expected to be rebuffed by the parliamentarians, and is
likely prepared to attempt to further escalate the
confrontation. We hope to keep attention focused on the
Djibouti Process by issuing a press release supporting
personnel continuity and a focus on the positive work the ARS
and its TFG counterparts are doing in Mogadishu.
RANNEBERGER

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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