All change and no change in Somalia

Somalia’s new Prime Minister is a US-educated technocrat and American passport holder who’s lived outside his war-torn homeland for most of the last 20 years, he sports spectacles, a ‘tache and is called Mohamed … much like his ousted predecessor.

Abdiweli Mohamed Ali replaces Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed who was sacrificed on the altar of a political deal designed to end the interminable bickering between President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and Speaker of Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden.

The deal signed in Kampala earlier this month triggered protests in Mogadishu where Mohamed provided some limited civic services and, crucially, paid soldiers on time making him popular during the short time he was in charge, since October.

If academic certificates were a guarantee of success in the snakepit of Somali politics then hopes would be high for the new PM who has degrees of various sorts from George Mason, Harvard and Vanderbilt universities.

Most recently he had been teaching economics at Niagara University, New York.

But as he comes to the job Ali, unlike his predecessor, does have some experience in Mogadishu politics having served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation under Mohamed.

“Somalia is in a difficult situation, there is an economic crisis and insecurity. I hope I will succeed in overcoming all these problems. I urge the entire government and Somalis to help me achieve this,” the new prime minister said as he was appointed on Thursday.

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