NAIROBI - Kenya announced sanctions against the Somali president yesterday, a strong public rebuke to a man who has been increasingly marginalised as his country struggles with a powerful insurgency and piracy off the coast.
Kenyan foreign affairs minister Moses Wetangula said Somali president Abdullahi Yusuf was an obstacle to peace. The sanctions, which also apply to Yusuf's family, include a travel ban and freezing any assets in Kenya.
"The region and international community should act in unison to collectively condemn all spoilers to the Somali peace process," he said.
Somalia's already weak government is in turmoil. Yusuf unilaterally fired Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein this week after months of public feuds over the best way to bring peace. But parliament soundly rejected Yusuf's decision and voted to keep the prime minister in his post. Yesterday, Yusuf ignored that and announced that he was appointing a former interior minister, Mohamed Mohamud Guled, as the new prime minister.
It's not clear what will become of Somalia's UN-backed administration - particularly as it wields virtually no authority in the face of powerful Islamic insurgents who have taken over most of the country. But the long-running dispute between the president and prime minister will do nothing to stabilise the fractured administration.
The government has been sidelined by Islamic militants and is veering toward collapse. The insurgents held a news conference in the capital, Mogadishu, on Sunday - a brazen move that shows their increasing power. - Sapa-AP