Somali PM vows to fight militants, graft

2011-07-05 08:59
Mogadishu - Somalia's newly appointed prime minister said on Monday that fighting corruption and defeating al-Qaeda-linked militants will be top priorities during his term.

A recent attempt to clean up Somalia's weak government and fight militants suffered a setback after a UN-backed deal allowed the country's president and parliament speaker to oust a popular prime minister who was pushing for reforms.

Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, a Harvard-educated Somali-American, was recently put in office as the new transitional prime minister. He will help appoint a transitional government that will operate until elections next year.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Monday, Ali said that his upcoming government would be "small but efficient", and that he would build functioning institutions in the chaotic, war-ravaged Horn of Africa nation.

"I cannot promise that Mogadishu will be the way it was 20 years ago in 12 months. That will be unrealistic," he said during the interview at his office in the capital city. "But what I will try to do is to get rid of militants who made Mogadishu what it is today...[so] its inhabitants who are now [displaced] can come back peacefully to their homes."

Ali took office last month after his popular, reform-minded predecessor was ousted in a deal between President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed and Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheik Aden. The two men, who argued for months, agreed on June 09 to remove Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, extend the government's term by a year and postpone elections until next year.

Mohamed's government was credited with attacking corruption and paying government employees regularly, something that won him accolades among the public. After his resignation, hundreds of ordinary Somalis, including soldiers, took to the streets in protests that killed at least a soldier and a teenager.

Small but efficient government

Ali, who previously taught economics at Niagara University in Lewiston, New York, said he would continue Mohamed's security achievements and try to build strong institutions that can withstand changes.

During Mohamed's seven months in office, the government had also wrested large swaths of territory from the al-Qaeda-linked militants of al-Shabaab. The government once controlled only a couple kilometres of Mogadishu. But al-Shabaab militants have been losing ground since government forces backed by the firepower of the African Union peacekeepers launched an offensive in the capital in February.

Officials say pro-Somali troops now control half the city after a major offensive launched against al-Shabaab this year. Pro-government militiamen have also succeeded in clawing back some territories from the militants in southern towns bordering Kenya and Ethiopia.

"Institutions that encourage production, that discourage banditry - this is what I am all trying to do," said Ali.

Ali promised to name a "small but efficient government", saying his government would reach out to insurgents who now control large swaths of the country's south and central regions, including portions of Mogadishu. He said the government will not shy away from using force whenever necessary to defeat die-hard militants.

"One thing we have to understand is, this is a reconciliation government," and so reconciliation strategies will need to be used, he said, blasting Islamists for imposing extreme interpretations of Islam on the usually moderate Somalis.

Ali said his graduate degrees in public administration from Harvard and in economics from Vanderbilt University would be helpful in reviving an economy and institutions destroyed by the country's two decades of violence, which allowed militancy and piracy to flourish in the country.

- AP
Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  somalia  |  east africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

At last you are able to see the light. You are able to break through obstacles in an innovative and original way. Visualisation is...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.