I was not in that flight to Jowhar in that early evening when planes couldn’t land there. But, I was in Nairobi, communicating on Thuraya satphone with Mayor of Jowhar, Mohamed Habeeb (Mohamed Dheere), throughout the evening. Dheere had been arranging enough cars with headlights blazing to light up the entire runway. I agree it was a risk flight too. There was no way Yusuf could return to Kenya as he was deemed extra burden on Kenyans having two presidents in town, blocking their streets traffic when moving around. Remember at time no aircraft could land in any of Somali airports, perhaps, Hargeisa ( I am not so sure), which was no go for Yusuf.
It was a mistake done by the organizers of the President’s trip to Jowhar, making such a delay to fly into Jomo Kenyatta Airport. I could confirm President Kibaki had been at Airport throughout the day with Yusuf, waiting for that flight to take the later to Somalia. Why such a delay had occurred? Later I learned that a merchant of Qat had persuaded the trip organizers that he would pick up Yusuf in the same day after he transports Qat to Somalia. Such a mess and poor judgment. Also recall I was not with TFG at the time. In fact, I was communicating with Mohamed Dheere on the trip on my own to help out. It was me who informed Dheere that the President’s plane had landed in Djibouti, to his much needed relief.
( Above is a cartoon by Penknife, Sunday Nation on the occasion. It is dated June 19, 2005. I have been keeping it in possession since then). In the Cartoon President Kibaki of Kenya saying bye bye, you overstayed here. No home in exile! Also shown in the cartoon are members of the newly established Transitional Federal Parliament beating each other with hotel chairs)
PS: At the time, there was no AMISOM and no international community presence in Mogadishu, only mob rule by the Union of Islamic Courts and rebel warlords, who were paradoxically members of Yusuf’s government. UIC and portion of the warlords re-united to oppose the repatriation of the Somali government.
(This article was updated since posting).