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Clash of the TITANS: The dirty power struggle in Somalia’s highest offices and the foreign influence

With the advent of a power struggle between the main groups that supported President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud’s reelection, Somalia’s political landscape has taken an unexpected turn. The group (Daljir and New Blood) vying for President Mohamoud’s leadership after his forced retirement think he won’t be able to serve out his entire term, which expires in 2026. In this struggle for control, a faction that is closely associated with Farah Abdukadir, the minister of education, has emerged.

Farah Abdulkadir, who is also known to have family ties with Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre, is believed to have significant influence over the country’s political process. He has appointed all the senior staff of the Prime Minister’s Office, which has enabled him to completely control the activities of PM Hamza. This has enabled him to run the government behind the scenes, avoiding being seen in the media or the offices of the President and PM Hamza.

In January of this year, Prime Minister Hamza visited Egypt for both personal and official meetings with the leaders of Egypt.  Minister of education Farah Abdulkadir accompanied the PM visit.

While he was in Egypt, PM Hamza and Minister Farah Abdulkadir had a private meeting with the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate, together with the Egyptian intelligence division in the African continent and Senior officers of Foreign Ministry.

This secret meeting was kept from the delegation accompanying Prime Minister Hamza and President Hassan Sheikh. Farah Abdulkadir, who was very careful not to leak the news, requested that the meeting be kept private and not shared with anyone (off the record), including the Somali President.

According leaked Memo; Farah Abdulkadir informed the Egyptian government that the next president would be selected from the Darood sub-clan, giving PM Hamza the best chance to get elected in 2026.

According to Farah Abdulkadir, “President Hassan Sheikh’s leadership will last four years at maximum”, and he will not be re-elected as dictated by Somali political history, so the Egyptian government “should think about nurturing potential presidential candidate who will be elected in 2026 national election.”

Farah Abdukadir went on to ask the Egyptian government to start supporting the political aspirations of PM Hamza. Egypt has also been asked to lobby among the countries with which the Egyptian government has close relations, especially the Arab countries.

PM Hamza has returned to Somalia with a lot of hope and new political energy, which can be felt in the appointment of officers and assuming greater influence in his cabinet.

The emergence of this news raises questions about the trust that President Mohamoud has in his PM and the motives of his inner circle. It is not clear whether President Mohamoud knows anything about the secret meetings that took place in Egypt.

The power struggle within his core groups has created uncertainty about his ability to complete his term, and it is expected that the year 2024 will be the year when the powerful opposition will fully emerge, starting from within the groups that claim to belong to his party.

The geopolitical struggle between Ethiopia and Egypt will certainly also adds to the complexity of the situation in Somalia. If Somali government were to side with Egypt, it could negatively impact the country.

Families of important members of the Somali federal government’s top leadership, such as the country’s prime minister, director of national intelligence, influential mayor and governor of Muqdishu, and key members of the Council of Ministers, are now being hosted in Egypt. The families of Somali officials are given full financial assistance from Egypt as well as housing, security, and other benefits.

Egypt has already assumed control of important international financial sectors such Banks, the education sector, committing to construct 5,000 schools, and the training of the Somali national army, mainly intelligence and military forces.

The important decisions being made by the infant government of Somalia, headed by President Mohamoud, are being closely observed by Turkey and Qatar. Unfortunately, Somalia is committing political suicide without taking into account larger geopolitical ramifications for Somalia, and its foreign policy.

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