12 September 2008
This week, the details of implementation for the proposed changes for Benadir region and Mogadishu became clearer as the process laid out in the Addis Ababa ‘road map’ appear to have begun. The President has taken the important step of issuing a decree, at the request of the Prime Minister, to remove the previous administration and for it to handover its duties to a temporary Upper Level Committee of ten members. The decree was supposed to take immediate effect on September 9th, the day it was issued, but it has yet to be implemented though expectations are that the hand over will take place tomorrow. The Upper Level Committee is to run the day-to-day activities of Benadir for fifteen days while the next stage is implemented. This allows for each of the 16 districts of Mogadishu to choose a 23 member local council. In turn, each council will choose their own leadership and their own district commissioner. Each of these councils will function until the end of the transitional period next year. Once in place, each council will also elect three of its members to represent the district on a Benadir Council, making a total of 48. This will then elect the Mayor/Governor of Benadir from among its members.
While there has been some progress on the issue of the Benadir administration, there has been a series of unnecessary delays over the nomination and acceptance of the additional ministers. Parliament has not been co-operating with the executive. Last week it fully endorsed the government in an overwhelming vote of confidence. Now, by refusing to accept the government’s proposals on the reinstatement of the ten ministers (only two of whom actually had their resignations accepted) Parliament is in effect working for the dissolution of the executive. There are some in Parliament who appear to be acting more on the basis of self-interest and paying little attention to the national interest. In addition, the critically important restructuring of the security apparatus, also agreed in Addis Ababa, has yet to begin. In the meantime, the situation in Kismayo continues to be in a state of flux. Those who claim to have set up an administration there have not succeeded in establishing complete order, and rifts between them and some local ICU leaders seems to be contributing to the continued uncertainty in the city.