President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

Somalia: its new president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

On Sunday 15th May 2022, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected again after being president in 2012-2017. The former president, Farmajo, has welcomed his fellow politician in solidarity and wished him the best of luck, clearly stating that, for the country to move forward, they all have to stand together to avoid any more grievances. The newly elected president secured 214 votes, almost doubling his opponent’s, Farmajo, who obtained 110. Once they calmly watched the ballots being counted side by side, in a rather picturesque manner, the votes revealed the verdict and Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was immediately sworn in. 

The issues Somalia has faced

This past year has been considered by many as a ‘lost’ year, where the vote for a new president had been put off for around 15 months, only worsening the security situation in Somalia. The new President Mohamud finds himself with a country that is much more at risk than when he left it. 

On the day in which the lawmakers were voting, there was an ominous background of explosions and shootings, which emphasized the precarious situation the country is in. In this last year the country has seen a worrying increase in attacks by Al-Shabaab, which has ties with al-Qaida, and they have made territorial gains against the federal government. This cancels all the hard work done by the African Union peacekeepers who had managed to corner these forces in remote areas of the country. The country has seen true political chaos, both via the little attacks and the ones on a larger scale, such as the suicide bombings that took place in March, killing 46 people and 2 local politicians. 

Aside from the political issues the country finds itself in, there is also the issue of Somalia’s huge debts. Somalia risks losing a three-year 380 million euro aid package that is provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). If a new administration is not fully in place by mid-May, this deal automatically expires, something which would only further complicate the situation there, hence why the government has asked for an extension until mid-August, one that has not been confirmed yet. 

 

Can this bring stability?

One can only hope that finally having chosen a president, this will settle Somalia’s situation. Most of all, it is a step in the right direction to keep the IMF aid which will greatly impact the people of Somalia, as 70% of them have to live on less than 1.82 euros a day. Furthermore, the whole population of the Horn of Africa finds itself having to deal with the worst drought in four decades which has led food and fuel prices to sky-rocket. It is too soon to tell whether Somalia will be able to recover, but the election of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and the hope that the lawmakers will work together on rebuilding a safe and prosperous country, certainly seems to be a step in the right direction.

Elisabetta Molteni

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