In the early hours of this morning, Somali Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Sharmake named a 25-member Cabinet that includes some incumbent Ministers who have either retained their former posts or have been given new portfolios as well as new ones.
The long awaited Ministerial appointments ends over a fortnight of speculations and anticipation in which time both the President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and his new PM Omar Abdirashid Sharmake consulted each other and other key stakeholders regularly to agree on the new cabinet members.
Among the returning former Ministers who keep their formers posts are the Ministers of Defence, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Women’s and Human Rights Affairs. Among the women in the new Cabinet are Khadija Mohamed Deriye who keeps her former post as the Minister for Women and Human Rights and Nadifo Mohamed Osman who also remains at the Ministry of Planning.
This new government is made up of both the former Ministerial and parliamentary supporters of PM Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed who lost a vote of no confidence in parliament in early December and the President. Observers privately stated that they hoped that both groups can unite this time to “lead Somalia” towards achieving the vital Vision 2016 goals.
“Finally the waiting is over and Somalia has a full government,” said a MP who did not want to be named. “Whether the old and new faces can work together or are any good remains to be seen.”
“There is inevitably great disappointment for many Ministerial candidates but it is important that all Somali government institutions work towards achieving our national development targets,” said a tribal elder present at the Ministerial naming ceremony.
“Inshallah we pray this is a good government and that they can work together for all of us,” said Ali Jama, a civil servant. “People want security, public services and jobs. I hope this new government can help to deliver these.”
“This is it. No more motions or commotions. 2016 is around the corner and these Ministers need to deliver miracles,” said a civil society advocate who did not want to be named.
All of the newly selected Ministers in this new administration are expected to go before parliament for approval shortly.