Somali parliament confirms new prime minister

New Somali Prime Minister

Today in Mogadishu the Somali Federal Parliament confirmed the appointment of Hassan Ali Khaire to the office of prime minister.  231 members of parliament voted to approve his appointment, a major confidence booster for newly elected Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo.

Khaire is a dual Somali-Norwegian citizen with experience in humanitarian work and the oil industry. Last year he was investigated by the U.N for possible illicit contact with the outlawed terror organization Al-Shabaab after a tip-off, but the investigation found no evidence of no wrongdoing. Khaire’s appointment received praise from both Somalis and non-Somalis who have worked with him, or know him. Many praised him for his integrity and work ethic.

However, some were also very concerned with the appointment, pointing out the new prime minister’s previous work with Soma Oil and Gas, a company that has been accused of corruption. After his appointment, he resigned from the company and divested his shares.

Khaire is Murusade, a relatively marginalized sub-clan of the larger Hawyie clan-family, which is one of the dominant clan families in South-Central Somalia. The Abgaal and Habar Gidir, two fellow Hawyie sub-clans, have traditionally dominated Hawiye politics and have assumed the clan family’s seats in national political offices. The appointment of Khaire is, therefore, a deviation from the norm and was something of a surprise, although not a complete one as the Murusade supported Farmaajo‘s campaign and his wife hails from the clan.

Because of their relatively marginalized political status, many Murusade individuals have joined Al-Shabaab. Some analysts suspect this appointment may peel away supporters from the group.