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Dueling Politicians Are Focus Of ICG Meeting
A Two Sided Struggle For Power with Mahiga the Referee
06/03/2011
The international Contact Group (ICG) urged TFIs to rapidly agree on election and on a consensus issues, as disputes widen in the Kampala meeting. The meeting has essentially broken down into pro election and anti election elements with Speaker of Somali parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden wanting an election and Somali’s president Sheikh Sharif wanting an extension of at least a year.

“Members of the TFIs and regional authorities presented their views on the end of the transition. International partners urge the TFIs to rapidly agree on elections and on a consensus on the way forward without jeopardizing the military gains made by AMISOM and the TFG forces,” said a statement from ICG that Somalia Report reviewed. An official position which brought confusion within the officials based on their comments.

According to the statement, ICG expecting that TFIs will reach agreement on the timing of elections for the TFI leadership and the nature and sequences of reforms

“ICG welcomes the requirement mandate by the United nation Security council for

President of Burundi and SRSG Mahiga
©Somalia Report
President of Burundi and SRSG Mahiga
Mahiga to convene the consultative meeting in Mogadishu in June 2011, and to report back on its conclusion; reiterates that failure to reach agreement by the TFIs in a timely manner will lead to decreased or suspended support from the international community, and possible sanctions,” the statement said.

The group recalls the obligations of the act in accordance with the Transitional Federal Charter (TFC) and Djibouti.

“ICG commends all efforts to further the consultative process amongst Somalis with the aim to ending the transition, defining the post-transitional arrangement, in consultation with regional actors and the rest of the international community and within the framework of the TFC and Djibouti agreement,” the statement added.

Confusion

Somali’s President Sheikh Sharif said on Thursday that the TFG proposed that elections be postponed for 12 months, a plan which the Uganda president supported publicly. The logic behind this is that the recent AMISOM offensive to expand control of Mogadishu along with the clandestine Ethiopian and Kenya offensive require a solid functioning government to exploit. The other obvious influence is that fair and democratic elections would be notional at best if held during a time of extreme violence and leadership confusion.

Not surprisingly, the Speaker of the Somali parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden opposed the President's position, seeking a full election to create a more representative government. His position is that the TFG is the cause of the conflict and that extending the mostly storefront government would cause even more fighting. Hassan has been successful in frustrating the plans of the President and their mutual enmity has launched public name calling. This unproductive feud has also prompted clear warnings from the UN to stop the bickering and focus on the requirements of the Djibouti Accord as mandated by donors.

Part of Somalia's officials disagreed with ICG proposal which also brought conflict in the conclusion of the two-day summit in Kampala.

However, in an exclusive interview with SRSG Mahiga, who was also chairman of ICG meeting, says that there is no dispute but ICG did postpone the meeting to Monday.

“ICG made some recommendations that we already sent to different international countries for approval. Only Norway agreed with our proposal,” Mahiga said late on Friday, adding “there were no disputes in today’s meeting.”

There may be more to the conflict according to meetings held between Somalia Report and Hassan. Speaker of Somali parliament Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden had been holding private meetings in Nairobi boasting of having significant cash to influence elections and politicians in his bid to gain control. This meeting took place shortly after his visit to Iran. Somali’s President Sheikh Sharif has formed partnerships with donor nations like the UAE. Hassan was effective in destroying Sharif's personal security detail which would have allowed him to travel around Mogadishu and the countryside while Hassan has been publicly criticized for acting autonomously. The very public feud between the Speaker and the President has convinced many donors to back away from their previous positions of support until there is a clear mandate and way forward for Somalia.

Whether the ICG meeting provides this is now in Mahiga's hands.