If Somalia is to turn a corner from its recent history of violence and lawlessness, it must get a leader who is able to bring all the stakeholders together and willing to face the daunting obstacles ahead. Many Somali intellectuals are convinced that president Mohamud is the right person who can lead the nation again during this tumultuous period.
‘’I am very confident that Somalia will prevail… and I look forward to play my part in making this happen with the young vibrant entrepreneur population, the longest coastline that we have, the fertile soil and the rivers we have, the mineral wealth that we have, Somalia’s strategic location in the world, all these put together, Somalia has greater chance to revive and to be part of the international community ‘’President Mohamud underlined in late 2018 speaking at the Oxford Union.
Like most other countries recovering from protracted civil wars, being the president of Somalia is a very challenging task due to the near-total absence of a properly functioning government institutions and so many conflicting interests.
During his time in the office, president Mohamud earned the reputation of being able to bring all the parties around one table to discuss the issues at hand. Mohamud, an ex-college don, made his name in the country’s education sector, a critical sector since the nation’s central government collapsed and the private sector stepped in to restore the education infrastructure. Mohamud led the charge in rebuilding the country’s higher education in Mogadishu, his hometown.
His natural diplomatic skills also paid off when Somalia restored diplomatic ties with the United States for the first time in two decades. This significant diplomatic step very early into his term raised the expectation of many people in Somalia. The Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world while he was in office.
One of the most notable legacies of president Mohamud, apart from establishing federal member states, was his ability to face the public, the media, and his critics to justify his policies and the positions he took; a tradition abandoned by his successor.
‘‘We must build not only the federal states, but also the connective tissue that binds them together in a peaceful, prosperous and vigorous union, to achieve this we must come to terms with three main challenges: completion of the constitution, completing our federal system and advancing the ongoing democratization process’’ he told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington D.C. in 2013.
Regional observers have criticised the current Somali administration which replaced his government for not being able to listen to the demands of the masses, indifference to the precarious nature of the restive nation’s politics as evidenced by the infamous unconstitutional two-year term extension which could have been, if not aborted too early, the beginning of a long road to dictatorship and a fresh civil war. Instead, the administration seemed to have banked on launching a massive publicity stunt to sway public opinion and deflect people from its glaring political failures.
Unlike president Farmajo who was living an affluent life in Buffalo in upstate New York before he won the last election, Mohamud never left Somalia even during its most trying moments. Instead, he opted to stay to be part and parcel of the efforts made by civil society members and educators who were trying to fill the void created by the collapse of the central government.
Dubbed as the most smiley president, Mohamud has a combination of charisma and character that allows him to lead and bring a polarised country together. Will the Somali people favourably judge his last term and give him a second chance to lead! Let’s hope they do.
By: Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s political experience is what Somalia needs these challenging times