Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke

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Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke
عمر عبد الرشيد علي شرماركي
Ambassador of Somalia to the United States
Assumed office
July 11, 2014
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
Prime Minister of Somalia
President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed
Preceded by Nur Hassan Hussein
Succeeded by Abdiwahid Elmi Gonjeh (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1960-06-18) 18 June 1960 (age 54)
Mogadishu, Somalia
Political party Transitional Federal Government
Alma mater Carleton University
Religion Sunni Islam

Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke (About this sound pronunciation  OH-mahr AHB-deh-RAH-sheed shahr-MAHR-kee) (Somali: Cumar Cabdirashiid Cali Sharmaarke, Arabic: عمر عبد الرشيد علي شرماركي‎) (born June 18, 1960) is a Somali diplomat and politician. From 2009 to 2010, he served as the Prime Minister of Somalia. In July 2014, Sharmarke was appointed as Somalia's Ambassador to the United States.

Personal life[edit]

Sharmake was born in 1960 in Somalia. He is the son of the former second President and first Prime Minister of Somalia, Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, who was assassinated in 1969,[1] and Ruqia Dahir Ali Boss, the daughter of a well-known Somali Islamic scholar from the Omar Musse clan, Meheri. His family originally hails from Somalia's northeastern Puntland region.[2]

Sharmarke studied at Carleton University in Ottawa, where he earned degrees in political science and political economy.[3] Although his family is based in Virginia in the United States, he holds both Somali and Canadian citizenship.[4]


Early career[edit]

Sharmarke has worked in a diplomatic capacity for the United Nations in Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone,[3][5] and served as a political advisor on the Darfur conflict in Sudan.[4] Before becoming Prime Minister, he was Somalia's ambassador-designate to the United States.[5]

Prime Minister of Somalia[edit]


On the February 13, 2009, then President of Somalia Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed nominated Sharmarke to become Prime Minister at a meeting in Djibouti.[6] Sharmarke's nomination was widely welcomed, with a spokesman for the moderate Islamic Courts movement describing him as an "honest" man who should bring about "positive changes."[4]

Political analysts were optimistic about the selection. It was seen as a successful attempt to shore up support for the Transitional Federal Government both among the diaspora and within the country. Sharmarke was considered someone who could potentially bridge the gap between the various groups currently competing for influence in Somalia, as he was based abroad and thus not tied to local politics.[7] Sharmarke's appointment was also seen by some analysts as an attempt to secure the favor of the large Darod clan, whose Majeerteen branch both Sharmarke and the outgoing President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed, are members of.[3][7]

On February 14, lawmakers approved Sharmarke as Prime Minister with a vote of 414 in favour, 9 opposed and 2 not voting.[8]

In his acceptance speech, Sharmarke pledged to encourage reconciliation and to create unity in Somalia.[3] However, the Al-Shabaab Islamist insurgents who are currently waging war against the federal government, condemned his appointment,[9] with a spokesman for the group saying that "an unlawful camel never gives birth to lawful ones."[10]

On February 21, Radio Garowe reported that Prime Minister Sharmarke had selected a new Council of Ministers, reserving key posts for former opposition lawmakers. Before a meeting in Djibouti attended by President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and a host of other Somali politicians and international observers, Sharmarke appointed Sheikh Abdulkadir Ali Omar, the Islamic Courts senior ground commander, as the Minister of Interior, and former parliament Speaker, Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan, as the new Minister of Finance. Sharmarke also appointed the scholar, Mohamed Abdi Gandhi, as Minister of Defense, and three women as Ministers of Health, Family Affairs, and Rural Development. The new Cabinet easily gained a parliamentary vote-of-confidence.[11][12] Sharmarke and the rest of the federal government then relocated from Djibouti to Mogadishu.[13]


In April and May 2010, a rift developed between Prime Minister Sharmarke and then Speaker of Parliament, Adan Mohamed Nuur Madobe, which culminated in the Speaker's resignation after parliament later voted to remove him from office. Despite Madobe agreeing to relieve himself of his duties as Speaker, the incumbent President Sharif announced shortly afterwards his dismissal of Prime Minister Sharmarke and his intention of forming a new government. This move was quickly welcomed by the UN Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, a close associate and supporter of Sharif. Ould-Abdallah himself came under fire for his reportedly disruptive role in the continuing conflict in southern Somalia, including meddling in local politics and attempting to advance foreign agendas.[14][15]

In response, Prime Minister Sharmarke told the press that Sharif did not have the authority to dismiss him, and stated that he would remain in office until parliament passes a vote of no confidence.[16][17] Sharmarke added that he "met the president and informed him that I wouldn't submit a resignation because his decision is not supported by the transitional charter",[18] and that “the government is formed in accordance with the constitution and the national charter... Articles 44 and 51 of the constitution say that the government can only be dissolved through a vote of no confidence from the parliament. So no parliament has casted the vote against the government.”[17]

On May 18, a top official with the African Union urged the federal leaders to settle their differences and unite to resolve the ongoing conflict.[19] Supporters of Prime Minister Sharmarke were also reported to have gathered in the north-central Mudug region of Somalia to protest in his defense.[20]

On May 20, President Sharif reversed his decision to sack Prime Minister Sharmarke after consulting with lawyers, who advised Sharif that the dismissal was indeed unconstitutional. Analysts also stated that the move has severely undermined Sharif's credibility, as well as that of the U.N. representative, Ould-Abdallah, who had backed him.[21]

On May 26, following another disagreement with Prime Minister Sharmarke, incumbent President Sharif again announced his unilateral plan to appoint a new Premier. Associates of Sharif's also reportedly attempted to persuade Sharmarke to resign, but the Premier again refused to step down and vowed instead to remain in office until his tenure constitutionally expires.[22] Abdirahman Mohamud Farole, the incumbent President of Somalia's autonomous Puntland region in the northeast, attempted to help settle the dispute, warning that if not resolved amicably, the rift could result in the ultimate collapse of the Transitional Federal Government.[23]

In September 2010, disagreements again arose between Prime Minister Sharmarke and President Sharif, this time over the nation's draft constitution, an initiative supported by the United Nations, the European Union and the United States. Sharmarke reportedly wanted the document put before parliament and civil society members, while the president wanted it to be put to a referendum.[24] On September 14, it was reported that the Premier had convened with MPs and ministers at the presidential residence to discuss the issue, where Sharmarke indicated that he would welcome a resolution to the dispute but would not step down. In a parliamentary meeting the following day, Sharif requested "changes" to the interim government; a motion calling for a vote of no confidence in the Premier was then put forward.[25] However, on September 18, the new Speaker of the Parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan reportedly called off a parliamentary session when the vote of confidence was expected to take place.[26]

In response to the rift, representatives from the United Nations, the African Union and IGAD, who had already tried to serve as mediators, released a joint statement warning that the dispute is unhelpful and self-defeating.[25] Puntland President Abdirahman Mohamud Farole in an interview likewise urged the federal government's leaders to set aside their differences for the sake of the country. Farole added that the "government [TFG] has a short time in office remaining and it should not be changed. This is also the position of countries who are interested in Somali affairs".[26]

Critics have also accused President Sharif of attempting to force Prime Minister Sharmarke out of office to remain in power beyond his term's expiry in August 2011.[24]


On September 21, 2010, in a press conference attended by members of Parliament and the Cabinet, Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke announced his resignation as Prime Minister of Somalia. Sharmarke indicated that the infighting between himself and incumbent President Sharif Ahmed had become a "security vulnerability" and that he had opted instead to "save the nation" by voluntarily stepping down.[27]

Sharmarke was succeeded as Prime Minister by Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (Farmajo), who in turn took over from the caretaker Premier Abdiwahid Elmi Gonjeh.

Ambassador of Somalia to the United States[edit]

In July 2014, Sharmarke was appointed Somalia's new Ambassador to the United States. The first such envoy in over two decades, he will head the Somali federal government's reopened embassy in Washington, D.C..[28]


  1. ^ "Canadian nominated to be Somali PM". The Globe and Mail. 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  2. ^ "Dowladda Soomaaliya oo safiirkeeda u fadhiya Marekanka u magacaabtay Cumar C/rashiid". Raxanreeb. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Somali president names Sharmarke as new PM". Agence France-Presse. 2009-02-13. Archived from the original on 2009-02-19. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  4. ^ a b c Slain Somali president's son named PM
  5. ^ a b "Sharmarke Chosen as PM in Somalia's National Unity Government". Voice of America. 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  6. ^ "Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke Set To Become PM Of Somalia". 2009-02-13. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  7. ^ a b "Slain Somali president's son named PM". International Herald Tribune. 2009-02-13. Archived from the original on 2009-02-16. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  8. ^ "Somali: lawmakers unanimously approved Sharmarke as PM". Somaliweyn. 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  9. ^ "New PM for Somalia". Television New Zealand. 2009-02-14. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  10. ^ Sharmarke named Somalia’s new PMArabNews
  11. ^ Somalia's new government dominated by former opposition membersGarowe Online
  12. ^ "Somali parliament endorses new cabinet". Xinhua News Agency. 2009-02-22. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  13. ^ "Somali hardliners reject truce offer". Agence France-Presse. 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-04. 
  14. ^ Somalia: UN Special Representative undermines TFG charter
  15. ^ Critics say UN envoy to Somalia should resign
  16. ^ Somalia stand-off as PM defies president's sacking order
  17. ^ a b Somalia: Deposed Somali PM says government still exist
  18. ^ Somali prime minister refuses to leave office
  19. ^ AU Urges Unity Among Somali Leaders
  20. ^ Gulf of Aden Security Review – May 19, 2010
  21. ^ President reinstates prime minister of Somalia
  22. ^ Somalia president 'to name new Premier' as controversy deepens
  23. ^ Somalia leaders' feud deepens as PM refuse to step down
  24. ^ a b 15 die in Somalia as parliament demands gov't vote
  25. ^ a b Rift threatens Somali government
  26. ^ a b Puntland leader urges TFG leaders to 'quit dispute, work for Somalia'
  27. ^ Somalia's prime minister resigns amid tensions
  28. ^ "Ex-Somalia PM named as new ambassador to US". Garowe Online. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 12 July 2014. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Nur Hassan Hussein
Prime Minister of Somalia
Succeeded by
Abdiwahid Elmi Gonjeh