World / East Africa
Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 14:50 EATdmutua@kenyafreepress.com
Former Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo was yesterday February 8 elected as his country's new president. The election was held in an airport hangar at Mogadishu Airport, the safest place in Somalia. Mr Mohamed Abdullahi, popularly known as 'Farmajo', won in the second round with 184 votes, followed by former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud with 97 votes, and Sherif Sheikh Ahmed with 49 votes.
"History was made, we have taken this path to democracy, and now I want to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo," said former President Mohamud. The 55 year old Mohamed Abdullahi, who holds joint American citizenship, hails from the Darod clan, and was elected by the 328 members of the Lower House and Upper House of the Somali parliament.
International media reported civilians taking to the streets while soldiers fired celebratory gunfire in the capital Mogadishu which had been near-deserted for two days with roads and schools closed and residents urged to stay indoors for fear of a strike on the capital by Shabaab militants.
Mr Mohamed Abdullahi said that he will rebuild Somali and fight against Al Shabaab and all militia groups. ”This is the beginning of unity for the Somali nation, the beginning of the fight against Shabaab and corruption..." Abdullahi Farmajo said after being declared the winner in a long, drawn-out election process in the conflict-wracked nation.
The U.S. government has congratulated Somali for conducting a free and fair election and choosing new President. “We congratulate Mr Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on his selection as the next President of the Federal Government of Somalia and look forward to working closely with him and a new government”.
Ahmed Soliman, an East Africa expert at Chatham House, told the Guardian that the election offers an example for East African countries: “Though the election doesn’t solve Somalia’s many challenges, it’s an expression of some political progress … and does highlight a vibrant electoral and political engagement. What we are seeing is the selection of a president to take the country forward … If you look at the region, and countries such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti or Eritrea, there is a clear contrast. The election is impressive in the context.”