24 September 2009

Somalia: Garowe's New Mayor Takes Office

Garowe — The New Mayor of the capital city Somalia's Puntland State government has taken office after being appointed by the President Abdirahman Mohamed "Farole," Radio Garowe reports.

Mr. Abdulkadir Osman "Food-Adde," the former mayor of Garowe, attended a Thursday ceremony marking the peaceful transfer of authority to Mr. Abdiaziz Nur Elmi Koor, who was appointed by President Farole as Garowe's caretaker mayor last week.

Puntland Interior Minister Gen. Abdullahi Jama "Ilkajir" and Nugal Governor Abdi Hersi "Qarjab" were present at the ceremony held at the municipal building in Garowe, the capital of Puntland.

"I am happy to transfer authority and I feel that my administration accomplished many things," said Mr. Food-Adde, Garowe's outgoing mayor who was in power since 2006.

In a recent interview with the VOA Somali Service, Mr. Food-Adde had commented that President Farole's decree appointing a new mayor "did not follow legal procedure."

But Gen. Ilkajir, in his capacity as Puntland's Minister for Internal Affairs, Local Government and Rural Development, defended the Puntland president's decree.

"The President has the constitutional authority to appoint governors and mayors," Gen. Ilkajir said at the ceremoney, while underscoring that the new mayor will hold the post until the Garowe District Council is elected.

He stressed that District Council members "will not receive salary" and that the members "will be self-sufficient." The exception would be to pay District Councilors during sessions.

Mr. Abdiaziz Nur Elmi Koor, Garowe's new caretaker mayor, told independent Puntland-based Radio Garowe that he plans to take immediate steps in public health and public safety.

"Since it is the rainy season, it is the municipal government's duty to ensure that muddy waters do not cause health problems for the public," the new mayor said.

He spoke briefly about the city's water system, saying that his administration would conduct an investigation into companies that provide water to the public, saying that unclean water causes health problems.

"We have invited public health experts to assist us," Mayor Koor added.

He said that the municipal government needs to expand its tax base, saying: "Some places have never paid tax. We have designed a program to tax them."

Lastly, Mayor Koor spoke extensively about security and pledged to improve public safety in Garowe, since it is the capital city of Puntland State of Somalia.

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