Somalis Hopeful New President Will Improve Security

Somalis Hopeful New President Will Improve Security

The task ahead of the new President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi is anything but easy though citizens of the country believe his administration will improve security in the terror-ravaged country.

The new President, who is also an American citizen, defeated incumbent President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud 184 votes to 97 on Wednesday, and took the oath of office shortly after his victory was announced.

In a short speech, the new president said, “This victory belongs to the people of Somalia. This victory is the start of building a united, peaceful and stable Somalia. This is the beginning of democracy and fighting corruption.”

Outgoing president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, won praise for how he conceded defeat Wednesday and wished his successor well.

But the country is far from its goal of holding nationwide one-man, one-vote elections as security remain the main challenge.

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Parliament members had to be elected last year by clan leaders and regional representatives.

Allegations of widespread vote buying overshadowed the electoral process, including the presidential race.

President Mohamed, or Farmajo as he is more commonly known, is well-remembered for his time as prime minister under the transitional government.

He served less than a year between 2010 and 2011, but he is credited with paying the salaries of the country’s security forces and government workers on time, including parliament.

International political analyst, Rashid Abdi, expressed optimism about the choice of the new President.

“There are feelings that if there is anyone who can do something about security then it must be him because of his very good relationship with the security services,” Abdi told the Voice of America, VOA.

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“We saw how immediately the news came through that he had won, how the security forces joined local people to welcome that victory and that support is probably also quite critical for him to succeed in stabilizing Somalia,” he added.

Reports have it that government soldiers have not been paid for the past six months; something many hope will change and give the troops the morale needed to defeat al-Shabab.

The al-Qaida affiliated terror group still carries out regular attacks and bombings in many parts of the country, including Mogadishu.

The new president favors building up the national army so that it will be ready when the mandate of the African Union force in Somalia comes to an end next year.

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Abdi says analysts fear a push to assert Somali’s autonomy may create tension with the countries contributing to the regional force, in particular Ethiopia and Kenya.

“If I were to advise him, I will tell him to go slow in relation with these two neighboring countries and to build new bridges,” Abdi said.

“I think they ultimately have collective interest, joint interest, strategic interest working together to stabilize Somalia.”

The new President is generally seen as a nationalist and a unifier, despite having spent much of his adult life in the United States.