Skip to content

PM Barre unveils cabinet, picks ex-Shabaab deputy to front ideological warfare

Storyline:National News

GOOBJOOG NEWS|MOGADISHU: Somali Prime Minister Hamza Barre Tuesday named his much-awaited cabinet picking among them former Al-Shabaab number two as Religious Affairs Minister in a move seen as a strategy by the new administration to counter the extremist menace in the country through ideological warfare.

Notable figures in the new list are close allies of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, some of whom served in his first term between 2012 and 2016. Barre picked Salah Ahmed Jamah as his deputy while former intelligence chief Ahmed Fiqi takes up the powerful Interior docket as Abdikadir Mohamed Nur becomes the defence minister.

Other influential dockets include Planning which will be headed by outspoken politician Mohamed Farah Bene-bene, Finance (Elmi Mohamed Nur) and Foreign Affairs which will be headed by Abshir Omar Jama.

Former Goobjoog Media Group CEO Senator Abshir Mohamed Ahmed has been appointed Minister in the Office of the president while former power justice minister Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir will head the education docket.

In total, the Prime Minister appointed 26 Ministers, 25 Assistants and 24 state ministers. Constitutional Affairs Minister was merged with that of Justice while Humanitarian Affairs Ministry was scrapped and replaced by environment and climate change.

The appointment of Robow is perhaps one of the most notable picks by the Prime Minister. Robow defected to the government side in August 2017 after falling out with Al-Shabaab about three years earlier.

He was however pulled out of the South West state presidential elections in December 2018 by the Federal Government, transported to Mogadishu and held under house arrest before ultimately being released and appointed minister by the new government.

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed has identified the war against Al-Shabaab as one of his foremost domestic policies and the co-option of Robow into government is seen as a strategy to counter Al-Shabaab’s ideological warfare and encourage further defections.