The military continued to surround key government buildings on the main Comoros island of Grande Comore on Monday as a power struggle for control of key ministries continued.
U N I T E D N A T I O N S
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)
COMOROS: Military remain at key buildings amid power struggle
JOHANNESBURG, 17 June (IRIN) - The military continued to surround key government buildings on the main Comoros island of Grande Comore on Monday as a power struggle for control of key ministries continued.
Kalula Kalambay, UN Development Programme spokesman in the capital Moroni told IRIN: "It is not a coup. They have a problem with the new political structure."
Under a new political system, the islands of Moheli, Anjouan and Grand Comore now have their own federal presidents. An overall Union president is also based on Grande Comore.
The military activity started last week after newly elected Grand Comore President Abdou Soule Elbak and Union President Azali Assoumani couldn't agree on how they would share rule of the island.
Although the islands have a constitution, it doesn't detail how the separation of powers between the federal presidents and the Union president would work, Kalambay said.
Elbak and Assoumani are based in Moroni but the island doesn't have a local and national government. Initially the two agreed on the control of certain ministries and sharing offices but couldn't agree on the control of the revenue generating departments like finance, budget and customs.
"Elbak has also found that in sharing an island with Assoumani, he doesn't have as much control as the presidents of the other two islands and has unexpectedly found himself negotiating power," said Kalambay. "He feels this will make him weaker compared to the other two presidents."
Elbak, who was elected over Assoumani's choice, Bakari Abdallah Boina, nominated his own people to other ministries but Assoumani objected.
"That is where the conflict started," said Kalambay. "The [Union] President [Assoumani] is used to having full power and doesn't want to give up these things."
Assoumani originally came to power in a coup but stepped down to qualify in the recent vote for a Union president.
Kalambay said that as a precautionary measure the army, controlled by Assoumani, was put in places "where the money is" and have been posted outside the department of finance and the customs building.
The next step, said Kalambay, was for the four presidents to meet to discuss the way forward.
"However, we are safe. There is confusion, but there is still hope. The army is trying to be neutral and we [the UN] continue with our programmes and are free to travel. We keep optimistic," he said.
Tel: +27 11 880-4633
Fax: +27 11 447-5472
Email: [email protected]
[This Item is Delivered to the "Africa-English" Service of the UN's IRIN
humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views
of the United Nations. For further information, free subscriptions, or
to change your keywords, contact e-mail: [email protected] or Web:
http://www.irinnews.org . If you re-print, copy, archive or re-post
this item, please retain this credit and disclaimer. Reposting by commercial
sites requires written IRIN permission.]
Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2002