Keen to oust him, Baghdad's Secretary brings together the Shiite arch rivals


Shafaq News / The rival parties who stand on the opposite ends of the political standoff that has plunged the country into deadlock since October 10 have agreed to join hands against the Secretary of Baghdad.

Although the motives of each party are different, this is the first time they have banded together to oppose the head of Baghdad's municipality, who is in charge of some nine million people in the capital.

State of Law coalition's kick-off..

Because of its influence on political blocs, the office of Baghdad's Secretary has always been contentious.

This new opposition was formed in response to statements attributed to Aliya Nassif, MP of the State of Law coalition, in which she demanded the immediate dismissal of Baghdad's Secretary, Alaa Maan, on the grounds that he assaulted the deputy director of al-Shu'la municipality as well as members of the municipality in Aden Square, north of Baghdad.

Nassif further alleged that “the Secretary ordered transfering the assaulted official to another location in retaliation, even though were working outside their jurisdiction and came to assist during Imam al-Kadhim's pilgrimmage.”

She also called on Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to dismiss him, while calling on members of the Council of Representatives and the prosecution to "take a firm stance against the secretary."

On February 28, 2022, Nassif also declared in parliament her plan to interrogate Baghdad's Secretary about various files containing violations, including "appointing many of his relatives to important posts as real estate and design departments without receiving official permits."

She added that the interrogation will include additional key papers that will be given at the time, as well as files suspected of corruption, such as farmer compensations.

Sadrist rage at the Secretary..

State of Law coalition's anger at the Secretary is matched by a Sadrist one because of Sadr City.

On March 6, 2022, the first deputy speaker of the Council of Representatives, Hakem al-Zameli, called on the outgoing Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, to suspend the head of Baghdad's municipality in preparation for summoning him to appear before the legislature.

A document appended by the signature of the first deputy speaker said that Baghdad's Secretary failed to abide by the outcomes of a previous session the parliament held in his presence regarding the Sadr City reconstruction project.

According to the said document, "The Council of Representatives held a meeting on February 14, 2022, chaired by al-Zameli and attended by the Secretary of Baghdad, his agents, and general managers, to discuss the reasons behind the deterioration of services in Sadr City, east of Baghdad, and the mechanisms for developing the level of services there."

"Even though 14 days have passed since the meeting, we did not notice any progress. In fact, obstacles, impediments, and reluctance were obviously and deliberately exacerbated. Therefore, we opine that he (Maan) should be suspended and questioned."

This is not the Sadrists' first demand to dismiss the Secretary. On March 30, 2021, the former deputy speaker of parliament, Hassan al-Kaabi, called on Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to dismiss Alaa Maan and several municipality directors for their "failure" to accomplish the service tasks they are responsible for in Baghdad in general, and the Hay al-Muntadhar neighborhood in Sadr City in particular.

Baghdad's Secretary "challenges"..

"The municipality is striving to complete 78 projects in the capital, are divided between the al-karkh and al-Rusafa sides," said Alaa Maan.

"Many streets will be constructed or paved in different parts of Baghdad as part of the Baghdad Renaissance project within a year," he also added, "the Renaissance of Baghdad project includes eastern areas of the Canal and Sadr City to demonstrate the great development, and will be the focal point for the capital's development."

In a gesture that may calm Sadrist anger, Baghdad's Secretary stated that work is now being done in 15 sectors and that 17 more will be worked on in the following months.

He further stressed that construction on nine important streets in Sadr City is still proceeding, with the collaboration and supervision of the presidency of parliament and the Baghdad and Sadr City MPs.

On the other hand, he flatly refused to comment on the prospect of being questioned in parliament.

Many questions cannot help but arise between the Secretary's interrogation and its outcomes, including his dismissal amid the convergence of al-Sadr and al-Maliki in this regard, including the replacement of the Secretary in the event of his dismissal, in light of a difficult political situation and the absence of a government.

More importantly, who can assume office, especially since this post directly serves Baghdad's nine million inhabitants. The Secretary's performance in his duties guarantees the success of his parliamentary bloc in advance of any local or parliamentary elections

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