Somali president’s 100 days in office: Has he fulfilled his election promises?

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Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed /AFP

Meanwhile, critics accuse the president of falling short of fulfilling his promises, including security as the al-Shabab group stepped up attacks across the capital since he took office

By Judy Maina, judy.maina@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – Somalia President Mohammed Abdulahi Farmajo took office in February this year with a pledge to revolutionize the war torn country.

His greatest achievement currently stands as overseeing the signing of a 17 page peace and security pact with the international community and strengthening a national force to fight Alshabaab militia.

Signed two weeks ago, the pact lays foundation for a peaceful and prosperous country, capable of fighting the militia group which is part of the dreaded Al Qaeda. It is meant to stabilize the fragile state by bolstering its security and addressing the severe drought that has ravaged the country.

In his inauguration speech, Farmajo had offered an olive leaf to Alshabaab asking them to join him in transforming the country instead of tearing it apart.

Alshabaab has been trying to overthrow the Somali government for the last decade with the African Union troops have been helping drive out that insurgent out of the capital since 2010. This has hence seen the vigilante loose much of the territory it controlled including the capital Mogadishu but has also made the group popular in the rural areas.

However, there have also been threats from Daesh militia group and piracy in the country.

The AMISOM troops from Kenya, Ethiopia Uganda and Burundi, who are funded by the African Union, are slated to leave Somalia in January 2018 due to financial constraints.

Though welcomed by the international community residents feel that there is need to have proper government institutions running well in order to ensure its full implementation.

“It remains a piece of paper if the people mandated into ensuring it works to the benefit of the Somalis are not up to task. Areas like security reforms are key in ensuring that the country moves forward and hence the responsibility of all government stakeholders and the private sector,” said Abdulkarim Ahmed, a resident in the Somali capital.

DEPORTATIONS FROM US

However, his greatest challenge has been the deportation of Somalia residents from USA.

With calls to have his country struck off from the list of the nations whose citizens were banned from entering the United States   Farmajo has won the hearts of many of the residents.

However, this has been a sad unreality as many of them have been deported under the “Immigration Ban” that had paused refugee resettlement organs and barred visitors from Somalia and Six other Muslim majority countries.

When elected, he had promised to talk to the US government concerning the issue, pointing out that it was important for America to change the policy and exclude them from it.

So far about more than 240 people have been deported since president Donald Trump took over power in November 2016.

“Many of them have spent their entire lives in America have been keen in participating in building a better USA. Somalia people  are hardworking and peace loving people and can work well from anywhere,” he added in an earlier interview.

Trump in his campaigns had threatened to deport over 11million illegal immigrants globally during his campaign for the US presidency, with Somalia and Mexico being one of the harshest hit by this policy.

UNNECCESSARY TRIPS

Meanwhile, critics accuse the president of falling short of fulfilling his promises, including security as the al-Shabab group stepped up attacks across the capital since he took office.

The president has also been criticized for taking ‘unnecessary’ overseas trips, having made more than nine trips since he was elected. During his presidential campaign, Mr. Mohamed has accused his predecessor of making unnecessary outside trips, promising that he would reduce his trips abroad in a bid to save money for the country.

“This issue of trips is one of his serious shortcomings.” said Mohamed Haji, a Somali politician in Nairobi.

DROUGHT

The persistent drought has also become one of his greatest challenges with more than six million residents under starvation.

The United Nation has agreed to give an additional $900 to the country to fight hunger, making the total amount for the cash disbursed to $1.5 billion.

Yassin Ahmed, a political analyst feels that the money should be transferred into projects instead of being used to provide relief food.

“With more cash flowing many more residents are forced to depend on handouts which does not deal with the problem but instead creates a serious dependency on relief food. The president must consider income generation project for the residents through sustainable agriculture of which it will also tackle the issue of joblessness. He should consider initiating projects that would stop the hunger,” he added.

The decision to have a military base at the Port of Berbera has also put the president in a wrong light.

Residents argue that this will make the already fragile country susceptible for Alshabaab attacks and unnecessary wars from countries fighting with Yemen.

Though Farmajo argues that this would boost security and help in protecting the 850 kilometer shore line from pirates, Somalis feel that this would exploit them financially as the port is key in their livestock trade.

“No one would risk doing business with the country knowing that any time there can be a militia group attack and his goods ruined,” said Salma Mohammed, a student.

Salma feels that even though such an initiative would help in equipping the forces through naval equipment provision and adequate training for their army, it was done in haste.

“Currently all we need is a peaceful country. By entering into such alliances in such a short while, Farmajo has opened grounds for any militia group to attack us,” she added.

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