The Transitional National Government (TNG) of Somalia has dismissed two ministers for "misconduct" because they failed to adhere to the TNG's position at the ongoing peace talks in Nairobi, a senior TNG official told IRIN on Tuesday.
Ahmad Isa Awad, the director of the prime minister's office, said Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah had written to the TNG president requesting their dismissal.
The two, Abdirahman Muhammad Nur Dinari, the minister of commerce, and Asho Ahmad Abdallah, the minister of state for disarmament and demobilisation, were sacked for "insubordination and adopting positions contrary to the TNG's position in the peace talks", Ahmad Isa said.
They were among a group of TNG delegation members who signed a letter in early March expressing opposition to the TNG's position at the talks, and accusing it of undermining the talks.
Ahmad Isa noted that not only had they adopted a contrary position, "but they continued to spread unfounded rumours and allegations disparaging to the TNG leadership and detrimental to the progress of the peace talks".
He stressed that there was no split within the TNG. "It is the prerogative of the prime minister and the president to dismiss members of their cabinet who they feel are not performing their assigned tasks," he pointed out.
Ahmad also told IRIN rumours that the TNG would quit the peace talks were "false". "We have expressed reservations and concerns about the way the conference is being conducted, but we have never said we will walk out," he said.
According to some local media reports, plans are underway to hold a peace conference in Somalia between the TNG and various southern factions. However, TNG sources told IRIN that they had no knowledge of such plans and "therefore we cannot comment".