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Some Somali Parliamentarians Unhappy with President’s Relocation to Mogadishu


Somali's new President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has come under intense criticism from some parliamentarians displeased with his relocation from Djibouti to the capital, Mogadishu. The concerned parliamentarians say the president's relocation to the capital makes him and easy target to Islamic insurgent groups including al-Shabaab. They said the president is taking unnecessary risk of going to Mogadishu when he could have waited until the capital is secured by the security agencies backed by The African Union peacekeeping troops (AMISOM). Meanwhile this week, new Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is also expected to relocate to Mogadishu from Djibouti where Somalia parliamentarians are currently meeting. Yahya Sheik Ahmed is a Somali political analyst. He tells reporter Peter Clottey that a government in Diaspora would not help in the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia.

"The president, ministers and the prime minister can come to Mogadishu this time, but parliament which is now over five hundred people would be too risky for them to be relocated to the capital, Mogadishu. The government would not be able to secure the security of all these people. So, I will suggest that only the ministers, the president and the prime minister should be in Mogadishu because the national security can handle their security needs. But that many number of Somali parliamentarians would be difficult for them to be protected by the security agencies," Ahmed noted.

He said the parliamentarians currently holding talks in Djibouti should be allowed to either travel outside the country for a while or a safe place in Somali should be made available for them until the security situation is brought under control.

"I will suggest that some of the parliamentarians who are already nationals of other countries or who came from the Diaspora could go back to the Diaspora for the first 100 days and the others would have to go to Puntland, which is very secure. But the parliamentarians cannot go to Baidoa where al-Shabaab largely controls. So I will suggest to them to go to Puntland. But the government has to move to Mogadishu," he said.

Ahmed disagreed with those who are of the view that the president is putting himself at risk by relocating to Mogadishu.

"I don't think the parliamentarians would be safe, but I do think the president would be safe. He would just move into the presidential palace or headquarters, which is well secured by his armed forces, the police as well as the African Union forces so he would be safe. There would be trials or attempts by these insurgents to attack, but he can still manage his office in Mogadishu. So the president and the prime minster as well as all the ministers can be in Mogadishu because they are not many and the government can handle their security," Ahmed pointed out.

He reiterated that there was no need to relocate the parliamentarians to Mogadishu.

"For the parliament members it is too risky for them to go to the capital. But for the president, where would he go? Will they be like the Cambodian government a government in the Diaspora? That is impossible. He (President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed) should come to Mogadishu and now he is already there in the capital and the prime minister will come this week. The whole Mogadishu is not in the control of al-Shabaab they are active in some parts and the other parts the government and the African Union troops are active. So, they (the president and the government) can be in a peaceful area," he said.

Ahmed said the new government should remain in the capital to experience what the people who live there are currently experiencing.

"These insurgents will try to attack but you see somebody will attack so I wouldn't go back to my own country I mean the president and the prime minister? That is impossible. They are to share the risk with the people that they are representing. If they were to stay out then they cannot assume the responsibility of the nation. So, they should come and they should share the risks with the people," Ahmed noted.

Meanwhile, President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed sharply condemned Sunday's suicide attacks on the Burundian contingent of the African Union peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu which left at least 11 dead and nearly 15 others seriously wounded. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up in one of the bases used by the Burundian contingent of the AU peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu. The hardline Islamist al-Shabaab movement claimed responsibility for the attack.

Described by Washington as a terrorist organization, al-Shabaab and the newly formed Hezbul Islam are strongly opposed to the current Somali government and vowed to continue fighting against the government forces and the African Union peacekeepers.

Al-Shabaab has vowed to take over the country and implement the Sharia law, adding that its warriors would continue launching attacks until the group's objective is realized.

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