This Sunday, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud made historical past as the primary individual to be elected president twice in Somalia’s nascent democracy after a landslide victory towards the incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, aka Farmaajo.
In a contest of greater than 36 candidates, each males made it to the third spherical of what was arguably probably the most aggressive election within the nation’s historical past. Ultimately, 66-year-old Mohamud gained and can now pilot the affairs of the Horn of Africa nation for the subsequent 4 years.
In his first coming, Mohamud served from 2012 to 2017 as head of the Federal Authorities of Somalia, the primary authorities created after the top of an extended interval of turbulence that began in 1991.
The longstanding civil society activist and educationist had solely totally joined politics in 2011 when he based the Union for Peace and Growth Get together.
Formative years and profession
Born within the city of Jalalaqsi, within the central area of Hiiraan, Mohamud obtained an undergraduate diploma in know-how from the Somali Nationwide College within the capital metropolis of Mogadishu. He went on to get a grasp’s in technical schooling from Bhopal College in India and labored within the Somali schooling sector early on in his profession.
Within the Nineteen Nineties, he gained a wealth of expertise travelling by southern and central Somalia, selling youngsters’s schooling within the midst of raging violence.
All through the turmoil Somalia suffered in that interval, Mohamud remained within the nation, in contrast to quite a few Somali leaders who sought asylum abroad.
When United Nations peacekeeping forces, UNISOM, left the nation in 1995, he partnered with civil society teams to spearhead reconciliation efforts to convey the warring clan factions collectively.
He grew to become recognized regionally for his involvement in resolving these clan disputes and is remembered for the function he performed within the negotiations in 1997 that ended the period of the notorious “inexperienced line” that had separated north and south Mogadishu since 1992.
Mohamud was a part of a neighborhood committee that efficiently managed to reunify the town’s two halves, which had been managed by two highly effective rival clan strongmen – Mohamed Farah Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed.
Mogadishu residents nonetheless bear in mind the so-called inexperienced line and the many individuals killed as they tried to cross it. “It was a dying zone,” Mohamed Ahmed, a 69-year-old father of 5, advised Al Jazeera.
“It lower off even shut members of the family however after the road was eliminated everybody celebrated, the town got here again to life and I bear in mind Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was one of many individuals who helped us resume our regular lives.”
In 1999, Mohamud helped set up the Somali Institute of Administration and Administration, which later grew to become one of many largest universities in Somalia.
Entry into politics
Mohamud shaped the Union for Peace and Growth Get together in 2011 and, as its chief, went on to problem transitional authorities President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.
In 2012, he was elected the eighth president of the nation, working on a platform of a brand new federal Somalia with full diplomatic relations with the remainder of the world after three many years of conflict and successive transitional administrations.
His authorities inherited a number of duties, together with finishing the provisional structure, forming federal member states, combating al-Shabab – the al-Qaeda-linked armed group is combating to overthrow the federal government and implement its strict interpretation of Islamic regulation – and constructing a robust nationwide military that might make sure the nation’s safety.
However Mohamud was additionally capable of convey regional leaders collectively to construct consensus on essential nationwide points utilizing what he referred to as “nomad diplomacy” – the Somali cultural idea of elders sitting beneath bushes to resolve disputes, forgive each other and lead their clans to coexist peacefully – to resolve main variations
“Nomad diplomacy could be very clear, straight to the purpose and has no read-between-the-line points,” he mentioned in a 2013 TEDx Mogadishu promo video.
In September 2015, he established a nationwide consultative discussion board that introduced collectively leaders of regional member states to forge an inclusive electoral course of. The discussion board was additionally instrumental in reaching main political consensus till it was dissolved by his successor, Farmaajo, who defeated him within the 2017 election.
After peacefully handing over energy to Farmaajo, he continued lively within the nation’s politics and began constructing alliances to return to the presidency.
Accusations of corruption
Mohamud’s first administration confronted critical criticism, accused of rampant corruption, media restrictions and abuse of energy.
In a single occasion, the UN Monitoring Group accused the administration of giving weapons to clan militias and al-Shabab. The damning 2013 report significantly alleged a conspiracy between the president and a US regulation agency, Shulman Rogers, to “steal public funds”.
It mentioned the Maryland-based agency conspired to divert the restoration of abroad property belonging to the central financial institution of Somalia. The federal government denied the findings
Yussur Abrar, who was governor of the central financial institution on the time, resigned. She had solely been in her place for seven weeks however mentioned she couldn’t proceed due to corruption issues.
In her letter to Mohamud, she mentioned: “From the second I used to be appointed I’ve been constantly requested to sanction offers and transactions that will contradict my private values and violate my fiduciary accountability to the Somali individuals as head of the nation’s financial authority.”
Returning to the presidency
Within the final two years, Mohamud has been fiercely campaigning to unseat Farmaajo who the opposition accused of “taking the nation again to dictatorship”.
In his election manifesto, he promised to construct “Soomaali Heshiis ah, Dunidana Heshiis la ah” (a Somalia that’s at peace with itself and at peace with the world).
In his acceptance speech on Sunday after being declared the winner of an election that had been delayed for about two years, he spoke in a reconciliatory tone from inside a closely fortified tent in Mogadishu and promised to construct an inclusive authorities.
After being sworn in early on Monday, Mohamud stood subsequent to his predecessor and mentioned: “Our nation must go ahead, not to return … We are going to clear up our issues utilizing our current legal guidelines, let’s not dwell on yesterday however take into consideration tomorrow.”
However the subsequent 4 years shall be robust for the brand new chief who’s inheriting a trove of challenges together with the matter of al-Shabab, which has intensified its assaults and regained territories managed by the federal government in recent times.
He will even should construct belief in a rustic polarised by in-fighting between the federal and regional governments, in addition to deal with rising inflation and extreme drought that has effects on hundreds of thousands of Somalis throughout the nation.
Throughout his marketing campaign, he promised to run an inclusive authorities obedient to the rule of regulation and to drive financial reforms that can end in a self-sufficient Somalia capable of feed itself.
However that could be a tall order, analysts say.
“Hassan Sheikh is fortunate, he’s the primary Somali president that received a second probability,” mentioned Afyare Abdi Elm, govt director of the Mogadishu-based Heritage Institute for Coverage Research.
“He has ample expertise and glorious understanding of main points … [but] rather a lot will rely upon how he manages the competing and irreconcilable teams/pursuits, excessive expectations of the society that need companies, and useful resource mobilisation.”