Somalia’s new president Mohamed Abdullahi was inaugurated on Wednesday, 22nd February and promised his people that he will restore dignity to the troubled Horn of Africa nation but warned it will take another two decades to “fix” the country’s problems, which include instability, a result of terrorism.
“Multiple challenges are ahead of our government. Therefore, I am telling people that because of the limited resources we have, our achievements will be limited,” said Mohamed, also known as Farmajo, during the ceremony.
In his 25 minute speech, flanked by two former presidents, Hassan Sheikh and Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, President Abdullahi promised to make Somalia great again.
For the past 26 years Somalia has been in conflicts with the terrorist group al-Shabaab and other Islamists militia groups, which have terrorized the country and making the country difficult to govern.
The country is also suffering from severe droughts, and many people are dying of hunger. The new president promised improvements but asked for patience as the country grapples with security threats and an impending humanitarian crisis.
The inauguration took place in the capital Mogadishu under tight security. All major roads and streets inside and outside the capital were blocked and commercial flights were cancelled for security reasons.
President Mohamed Abdullahi who holds a dual citizenship (hold USA citizenship) was the country’s Prime Minister in 2010-11, and he was described as a no-nonsense leader. During his tenure as Prime Minister he tried to improve the governance and was uncompromising in the fight against corruption in the administration.
“Our government will not loot but will help its people. We shall fight insecurity, economic crisis and unemployment,” he said.
Promised to fight al-Shabaab
Somalia has been in turmoil since 1991, and the country has witnessed decades of conflict with various clan militias clashing for control of various regions of the country. The government has been battling al Shabaab with the help of regional troops operating under the AU-AMISON (African Union Mission in Somalia) with the mandate from the United Nations (UN).
“To those who work with al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and IS (Islamic State), your time is finished. You have been misled, destroyed property and killed many Somalis. Come and we shall give you good life,” he said while thundering at the inauguration ceremony.
Region in solidarity with Somalia
The colorful inauguration was attended by three heads of states from neighboring countries, which was a welcome endorsement of President Abdullahi. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya with his Djibouti counterpart, Omar Guelle and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn were in attendance, which could be seen as a symbol of their commitment to help stabilise Somalia after many years of conflict.
This perhaps was the most important signal to show al-Shabaab that the region is committed to restoring peace, security and governance in Somalia.
During their speeches to congratulate Somalia for electing Abdullahi, the heads of state from the east African region made a commitment to continue fighting terrorism.