Somali lawmakers gathered at the presidential palace in the capital Mogadishu on Sunday to overwhelmingly support the new ministers appointed by Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre last week. During the voting, several mortar explosions hit the capital.
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre’s 75-member government was confirmed moments after mortar shells struck residential neighbourhoods near the presidential palace in Mogadishu.
“The quorum is 237 MPs, seven MPs refused, one MP abstained while some 229 MPs endorsed the approval the new cabinet ministers, therefore it is approved”, the speaker of the house, Adan Mohamed Nuur Madobe, said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. “We have no recorded casualties so far as investigations are ongoing,” district security official Mohamed Abdifatah said. Security challenges will remain top of the agenda of the newly appointed cabinet.
The cabinet, which includes a former Al-Shabaab deputy leader and spokesman, Mukhtar Robow, is also known as Abu Mansur. He is sworn in as Religious affairs minister. The now 53-year-old publicly defected from the Al-Qaeda-linked militants in August 2017.
“I thank Allah. And I am very pleased that MPs unanimously approved my government and its programme to perform, Allah Willing”, PM Hamza Abdi Barre said.
In addition to the Al-Shabaab insurgents who have been waging a bloody war against the government and the people of Somalia for 15 years, a looming famine will also be one of the new cabinet s priorities.
Prior to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Somalia imported 90% of its wheat from both countries. In Mogadishu, food stocks provided by international donors have been depleting.
Regarding security, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud said ending the violent insurgency required more than a military approach.