Somalia Shuts Down Internet Amid Prime Minister's Vote of No Confidence
Central and Southern parts of Somalia are facing internet shutdowns shortly after the surprise ousting of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre.
According to Somali Affairs, President Abdullahi Mohammed Farmaajo has enacted the removal of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Kharye after a unanimous parliamentary vote of no confidence. Power struggles allegedly caused by Khayre's ambitions to be president have bred tensions between the two parties and resulted in a cabinet split before the national elections set for February 2021. Mahdai Mohamed Guled has now replaced the former Prime Minister. The announcement of the cabinet change was quickly followed by widespread internet shutdowns across Somalia.
Residents in Mogadishu and other towns across the country have reported an internet shutdown since early this morning. This, however, is not the first time the country has faced the problem. Back in 2017, the country went completely offline because of damage to a major undersea cable. Somalia has faced civil unrest for more than two decades and elections are held in a formal but outdated style. President Farmaajo, who was elected in 2017 after two rounds of voting, stated that he wanted a "satisfactory" election process for 2021.
Former Prime Minister Khayre previously led negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for financial aid as the country tackled a locust invasion and the novel coronavirus pandemic. Khayre's efforts led to a 50 billion dollar loan to assist the financially unstable country although it did not meet the requirements owing to outstanding debt and rampant political corruption.
Opposition party, Forum of National Parties, responded with concern to the recent ousting of the Prime Minister stating that, "The president is breeding political chaos that will be difficult to manage," as reported by Reuters. These concerns also follow allegations that President Famaarjo is attempting to extend his presidential term.
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