President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Thursday withdrew the powers of Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble.
“The prime minister has violated the transitional constitution so his executive powers are withdrawn… especially his powers to remove and to appoint officials, until the election is completed,” the office of the president, popularly known as Farmajo, said in a statement.
Justifying his decision, the head of state said that the Prime Minister had taken “imprudent decisions that could pave the way for political and security instability,” and that he had not carried out “any consultation and collaboration with the president.
This is the latest development in a bitter row for months over dismissals and appointments to key security positions that has plunged the country into fresh crisis. The two men have clashed twice in the past eleven days.
On September 5, Mohamed Roble dismissed the head of the Intelligence and Security Services Agency (Nisa), Fahad Yasin, a close associate of Farmajo, for his handling of the investigation into the unexplained disappearance of one of his female officers, Ikran Tahlil.
The president overturned the “illegal and unconstitutional” decision and appointed a replacement of his choice after promoting Fahad Yasin to national security adviser.
Last week, after accusing the president of “obstructing” the investigation and calling his decisions a “dangerous existential threat” to the country, the prime minister replaced the security minister. The President also ruled that this decision was not in accordance with the Constitution.
There have been efforts by politicians to defuse the tension between the two leaders, but without success.
“Somali factions are playing with fire,” the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank warned in a report released Tuesday, in the face of escalating tensions between Farmajo and Roble.
“The clash between its two top leaders risks upsetting what little stability the country has enjoyed, while diverting politicians from other priorities,” the ICG added, calling on Somalia’s partners and donors to “publicly name the saboteurs, threaten them with sanctions if they do not change course, and prepare targeted measures.