Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf announced the he intends to formally resign as of Saturday in a move praised by the African Union as a way to strengthen the mandate (such as it is) of the floudering Somali government and allow Yusuf to “go with some sort of dignity.”
The announcement came just hours after Prime Minister Mohamed Guled, himself in power for only a week after Yusuf dismissed the former prime minister, announced his own resignation. While Yusuf gave no official reason for his resignation, Guled said his own decision was based on a desire “to end infighting among the government.” Guled’s resignation likely opens the way for former Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein to return to power.
But the source of Yusuf’s resignation isn’t a total mystery. The move came in the wake of a meeting with US under-secretary for African affairs Jendayi Frazer, who reportedly ordered the Somali President to restore former Prime Minister Nur to power or resign. If he refused, the US would reportedly back sanctions against him.
So Yusuf is out, and talks are now of a power-sharing deal in the Somali government. But with the Islamist insurgency seizing ever more of the country, the question much be asked: what power is there left for this self-proclaimed government to share, and how long will anyone be able to keep it?