Mogadishu — Somalia's newly elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud appointed political newcomer Abdi Farah Shirdon, also known as Sa'id Shirdon, as the troubled Horn of Africa country's new Prime Minister, Garowe Online reports.
President Hassan held a press conference in the presidential headquarters Villa Somalia on Saturday and announced Mr. Shirdon as the new Prime Minister. The President's office stated that Mr. Shirdon is a successful businessman based in Kenya since the civil war erupted in 1991.
Prime Minister Shirdon gave a few words after the nomination, promising to select a quality Cabinet with the vision of a building a better Somalia following the same ideals as President Hassan.
"I promise to build a Cabinet with the vision of President Hassan's six pillars that will bring a better future for Somalia," said new Prime Minister Shirdon, whose nomination must be approved by the Somali Federal Parliament
Like President Hassan, the newly appointed Prime Minister is a political newcomer but has a civil service background working as a government economist during the 1980s. His wife, Asho Haji Elmi, is an influential member of parliament from the Hawiye clan-family, dominant in Mogadishu.
Prime Minister Shirdon belongs to the Marehan sub-clan of Darod clan-family and hails from the central region of Galgudud.
If approved, Prime Minister is expected to appoint a new Cabinet.
Mr. Shirdon thanked outgoing Prime Minister Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas and his Cabinet for their hard work and promised to fight corruption.
New President Hassan, who was elected parliament on Sep. 10 at the conclusion of the UN-backed Roadmap peace process for Somalia, is a also a political newcomer who was active in Somali civil society and among the founders of SIMAD Institute in Mogadishu.
Since his election, President Hassan has traveled to Baidoa and Beledweyne towns in southern Somalia, but did not visit Puntland region in northern Somalia prior to announcing Mr. Shirdon as the country's new Prime Minister.
Insiders say President Hassan's close circle belonging to Damul Jadid breakaway faction of Al-Islah (the Somali branch of Muslim Brotherhood) has the "most influence" in the announcement of Mr. Shirdon as Prime Minister.
The country's new leadership, President Hassan and Prime Minister-nominee Shirdon, face tremendous challenges as the first permanent government in Somalia since the collapse of ex-President Mohamed Siyad Barre in 1991, including terrorism, piracy, mass exodus, and clan wars.