Mogadishu residents are celebrating the sacking of the
Somali capital's controversial but powerful mayor Mohamed
Dheere. Dheere was reportedly fired after he allegedly embezzled funds amid
heightened insecurity in the capital. Some political observers believe Dheere's
sacking exposes a possible rift at the top of the Somalia's embattled interim
administration. Dheere, who is a former warlord, has been the city's mayor
since early last year and is perceived to be a close ally of President
President Yusuf is expected soon to append his signature to
Dheere's official letter of dismissal.
Haroun Maruf is a Somali journalist monitoring the situation in the
country. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that Dheere was sacked after he
clashed with the prime minister and some members of the interim government over
control of the city's resources.
know, Mohammed Dheere is a controversial figure. He was a former warlord who
was appointed as the mayor of Mogadishu in April last year. And a large number
of people were displaced from the city at that time because of heavy fighting
between Mohamed Dheere's militia and the government forces and the Ethiopian
troops against insurgents. So, the large number of people who were displaced
were today very pleased with the sacking of Mohamed Dheere and large numbers of
people have taken to the streets in Mogadishu. But of course I think the
reaction to the sacking of Mohamed Dheere was mixed, and some people were very
disappointed, especially from the northern part of the city. Others were elated
with the sacking," Maruf noted.
He said Dheere was sacked
after clashing with the prime minister and other influential government
"The mayor of Mogadishu is a
very powerful character, and he made his position as a powerful politician.
Mogadishu is the financial capital as well as the political capital, and
Mohamed Dheere, the mayor of Mogadishu, wanted to control all these financial
revenues, the taxes as well as the security of the city. Mogadishu is also the
seat for the president and the prime minister, so they wanted to have their say
on what is happening politically, security-wise, and financially, and that may
have them on collision course with Mohamed Dheere, the mayor, which brought his
sacking," he said.
Maruf said Dheere's sacking
would not generate tension in the capital as many anticipate.
"I don't think he (Dheere)
would urge his militia to take up arms against the government. So, far he said
he will accept his sacking provided it was approved by the president, who is
yet to sign the sacking memo. By the way, Mohamed Dheere is very close to the
Ethiopian commander who is in Somalia, which means he (Dheere) is very unlikely
to stage any fighting with the government over his sacking," Maruf pointed out.
He said President Yusuf is
expected to sign the memo that would make Dheere's sacking official.
"It is very likely that the president
would support the sacking, although the president is very close to the mayor.
So it is also fair to say he will not disagree with the prime minister's
decision to sack him (Dheere)," he said.
Maruf said the prime
minister has set up a committee to find a new mayor for the capital.
"The prime minister has
appointed a 13-member committee who will vet a new mayor for Mogadishu as well
as a complete administrational structure for Mogadishu. Mogadishu is the bulk
center of the conflict in Somalia. It is where every warlord, every
troublemaker, every politician makes his political trade. So there are lots of
sensitivities around this position, and that is why the prime minister has
appointed a 13-member committee to draw a list to choose from a new mayor. But
in the meantime, Mohamed Dheere's deputy has been appointed as a caretaker
mayor," Maruf noted.