In February of this year, 55-year-old Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo won the Somali elections by a huge margin, becoming Somalia’s ninth president in one of the highly-contested elections in the country’s political history.
And just ten days into his presidency – President Farmajo had a tough message to Mogadishu’s security partners.
“My vision is to defeat the Al-Shabaab in the next two years,” President Farmajo said.
“Hopefully if we work very closely together, we will be able to defeat Al-Shabaab. That is the vision I would like to see happen in the next two years to bring peace and stability to Somalia”.
That message didn’t go well with Al-Shabaab – an Al Qaeda militant group seeking to overthrow past and present administrations in Somalia for over a decade now.
A series of explosions followed, with the deadliest featuring just 11 days into Farmajo’s presidency and claiming nearly forty lives at a populated market – west of Mogadishu.
After a series of attacks, the President – dressed in full military uniform – declared war on Al-Shabaab. His first major assignment was stabilizing Mogadishu, and his strategy was to disarm the potential threats to stability – a move that’s seen an improvement in the capital’s security.
President Farmajo also picked Hassan Ali Kheyre as his Prime Minister – a political newcomer – and a former oil executive – to form an inclusive competent government.
At an international conference on Somalia in London in early May – a gathering of more than 40 governments including some of Somalia’s key international partners – President Farmajo sought support for his new government – promising tangible results in the country.
“We believe that the only path to fully recovering Somalia is strengthening our democratic institutions; to that end I’ll spare no effort to realize the promise of my campaign, which was to fight Somalia’s three major enemies, terrorism corruption and poverty. Most importantly I’ll take measurable steps to unleash the most important potential of my people to develop their own country through what they know best – trade and commerce,” he said.
His presidency suffered its biggest setback in May – following the killing of its youngest minister and a former refugee – Abdullahi Sheikh Abass – who was serving as Minister of Public Works and Housing, and seen by many as a rising star and an inspiration to the youth.
As Mogadishu marks the first 100 days into Farmajo’s Presidency – he remains adamant that his government will win the war against terror and restore stability back to Mogadishu.
“To those pulling us back – I tell you that this is your country. Renounce violence and rejoin us – we will protect you and rehabilitate you. But to the foreign fighters who’ve come here to deny my people peace and stability and devilment and ruin our image as a country, and made Somalia and Mogadishu a terrorist heaven – we will fight you and eliminate you from our country – they have no place in our society”.