The president of Somalia is under spot for frequent foreign visits despite previously criticising his predecessor for the same.
President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo severally criticised his predecessor, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud for being “absent from the country.”
In a video widely circulated on social media, President Farmajo is seen castigated his predecessor for what he termed as “wastage of public funds on unnecessary travels abroad.”
In the last two weeks alone, President Farmajo made trips to Ethiopia, Kenya, Egypyt, Burundi, Djibouti, and Qatar . His critics say that his numerous visits cost huge amounts of money.
The president is usually accompanied by security and personal aides and government officials with privately owned airline rented during the entire trip. The cost of such trips is estimated hundreds of thousands of dollars, an amount that is too huge for a country that hardly gets its bills from revenue it collected.
“Most of these trips can be done by the minister of foreign affairs,” President Farmajo said during his bid for the presidency in 2016.
Somali Affairs tried to reach the president’s communications officials for a comment, but none was forthcoming by the time of publishing this story.
President Farmajo last week was in Egyptian city of Sham-El-Sheikh to meet with European leaders and the new head of the African Union, President Abdelfatah Al Sisi of Egypt on AMISOM’s planned move out of the country by May next year.
The visit to Egypt comes barely a day after the president returned from Djibouti and Burundi, AMISOM force-contributing countries.
Mohamed Ali Shukri, a political analyst on Somalia says the president’s numerous travels is a culture among Somali leaders adopted ahead of any elections.
“It’s a money-hunting trips mostly disguised as state visits and there’s no way to account for the money received since Somalia has no public funds regulatory mechanism,” he said
Somalia is gearing up for presidential elections next year. The polls are usually marred by grafts and voter-buying.
As the in-tray of the internal affairs mounts, will the president of Somalia remain in the country to clear the mess of two decades of lawlessness?