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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 January 2007, 11:19 GMT
Profile: Somalia's maverick ex-speaker
By Abdirahman Koronto
BBC Somali service

The ousted speaker of Somalia's transitional parliament, Shariff Hassan Sheik Adan, has a reputation for honesty, as well as for being independent-minded.
UIC chief Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys (left) and parliamentary speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan in Mogadishu
Mr Adan (right) said he wanted to avert "an imminent war"

MPs voted to impeach him after he held unauthorised talks last year with the Union of Islamic Courts.

He also dared to go to the capital, Mogadishu, when it was under UIC control, without the permission, or indeed knowledge, of the president or prime minister.

The government spokesman said he had no mandate to reach a deal.

He has also strongly criticised Ethiopia's intervention on the side of the government to oust the Islamists.

Indeed, he said that parliament's decision to remove him was invalid because of the Ethiopian presence in the country.

His relations with President Abdullahi Yusuf seem to have come full circle.

In 2005, the pair were bitterly divided, with Mr Adan leading opposition to Mr Yusuf's plans to set up his government in Jowhar, saying the capital was not safe.

Mr Adan insisted that the government must be based in Mogadishu, despite the dangers.

Eventually a compromise was reached, with the government moving to Baidoa and relations seemed to have improved.

But now they are rivals once more.

Animal hides

The 60-year-old businessman is also known for his commitment to reconciliation and relief aid work.

Mr Adan first entered politics in 2000 as a member of the short-lived Bay regional government, which collapsed after a year.

Map
Four years later, the father of 22 children, entered national politics - during the last stages of the long-running Somali peace talks in neighbouring Kenya.

Before his election to the post of speaker, Mr Adan, who has three wives, was mainly based in Somalia.

He travelled frequently to Kenya and Dubai, where he has business interests; and also to Egypt, Australia and the United States, where some of his children live.

After finishing his secondary school education in Mogadishu in 1977, Mr Adan began to export animal hides.

He built this into a successful import and export business - trading in livestock, food and building materials.

His company, Al-Ahli, transported food for the World Food Programme and Unicef, and he took on the post of United Nations Development Programme facilitator for a year in 1994.

Sheikh Aden who is not a gifted speaker, gave a lack-lustre campaign address ahead of his election as speaker of parliament in 2004, but his rousing acceptance speech surprised everyone.

The MPs who voted for him said they chose him because of his reputation for honesty.






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