Presidential elections are taking place in many countries. In this row, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has chosen political novice, Mohamed Hussein Roble, as prime minister, his office announced on Friday, connecting power around the position ahead of elections due next year. Roble did civil engineering and previously worked for the International Labour Organisation, a United Nations agency. He replaced Hassan Ali Khaire, who was dismissed in July over a power struggle whether to delay a national election due next year.
An African Union peacekeeping force set up in 2017 has ripped back control of much of the country from Islamist insurgents, giving space for delicate political institutions to develop. Young diaspora Somalis are coming home and development in the capital is flourishing. But bribery is endemic, the peacekeepers have begun reducing their presence, and the Islamist al-Shabaab insurgency still mounts deadly attacks on a near-daily basis, even within the capital. Relations have also been rocky between the federal government and regional states as they quarrel over power and resources.
Mohamed who is usually referred to by his nickname of “Farmaajo” is likely to run for a second term as president when polls are held, competing against at least two other former presidents. Somalia’s international backers had hoped to hold the first one-person, one-vote election since the war began, but it is unclear whether that will be possible. Previous national elections have consisted of clan delegates choosing members of parliament, who in turn chose a national leader.