Monday June 20 2011

Aronda meets Somali president as PM quits

By Risdel Kasasira

Mogadishu

The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, yesterday introduced the incoming Amisom commander, Maj. Gen. Fred Mugisha to Ugandan commanders in Somalia as the war-torn country’s Prime Minister - Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, announced his resignation following intense talks in Mogadishu.

Gen. Aronda told journalists in Mogadishu that he had also met president Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed over the Kampala Accord, which has caused animosity among Somalis over its requirement that Mr Farmajo resigns.

“I’m here for the handover but I also interacted with the president and the stakeholders of the Kampala Accord are waiting for its implementation,” he said. Gen. Aronda denied he was in Mogadishu to re-negotiate the agreement after supporters of the Prime Minister demonstrated in different parts of the world demanding he stays on as prime minister. “I understand my interaction with the President has sparked off rumours that we are renegotiating the Accord. No, this is my routine and I just met the President to discuss other issues. The Kampala Accord still stays and the parties are ready to implement it,” he said.

At a press conference he called to announce his resignation, Mr Mohamed said he had vacated the premiership in line with the Kampala Accord, an agreement signed on June 9. The Accord is a result of talks that took place in early June mediated by President Museveni, and facilitated by the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy to Somalia, Dr Augustine Phillip Mahiga. The Accord stipulates that the prime minister’s mandate ends within 30 days and for his successor to be named by the president and approved by parliament in 14 days.

Mr Farmajo resignation paves way for the formation of a new government. Uganda and Burundi, who form the African Union peacekeeping force, pushed for the extension of the Transition Federal Government in the Kampala meeting this month.

Gen. Aronda again appealed to willing African countries to send troops or give any support to reinforce Ugandan and Burundian forces that are defending the beleaguered government against the al Shabaab. “If we took over the whole of Mogadishu, it would mean the end of this war. They (African countries) may not have to send soldiers. It can be a hospital or anything that will support the efforts to bring peace in Somalia,” he said.

Out of 13 districts in Mogadishu, African Union forces and the Transitional government control eight, which represents 70 per cent of the territory. The outgoing force commander, Maj. Gen. Nathan Mugisha who has been appointed deputy Ambassador in Somalia, said in the last three months, the area of control had tremendous expanded. The current Amisom Chief of Staff, Col. Innocent Oula, will handover to Col. Simon Ocan. See related story on page 5

Additional reporting by Abdulkadir Khalif

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