Somali writer and analyst Faysal Abdi Roble said Monday’s election of a little-known candidate as the next president of Somalia is a clear message that Somalis want to move forward from the days of corrupt and clan-dominated governments to a more effective leadership.
Somalia’s parliament Monday elected Hassan Sheikh Mohamud defeating incumbent leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed in a landslide.
Roble said the next challenge for the new president is to select a prime minister. He said Monday’s election was a mandate to show that Somalia is ready to move away from its past.
“I think it’s a strong mandate that the recently-seated Somali parliament sent to some of the politicians, who were involved in the election; that is, they wanted to divorce themselves and the country from the previous trend, which was accused of corruption and maladministration and disarticulation of the entire leadership. So, this was a mandate to show that they wanted a new vision, a new direction from the past,” he said.
Roble said this desire to move Somalia away from its past was also reflected in the wide margin by which Mohamud defeated Ahmed.
“As a matter of fact, he [outgoing President Ahmed] was a formidable candidate and, in the last two days, he realigned himself with the recently ousted speaker of parliament. And, it looks as if every other candidate, who was competing, seems to have instructed their supporters to go not to Sheikh Ahmed, but to Sheikh Hassan, who is the new president,” Roble said.
He said the new president’s roots as a former member of the Somali diaspora and a civil society activist might have endeared him more to the Somali people.
“Sheikh Hassan has a combination, on the one hand, of being a diaspora-type person in terms of education but, at the same time, having roots among the Somalis for the last 20 years, which most of us don’t have,” he said.
Roble said the new president’s next challenge would be to pick a new prime minister. He said Mohamud could choose the most recent outgoing prime minister because of his work in the Federal Transitional Government.
“My anticipation is that he will elect again another Western-favored prime minister. There is the potential that he may renominate the outgoing prime minister, Dr. Abdiwei Mohammed Gaas, who, as you know, has done an excellent job in terms of completing the ‘roadmap,’ bringing the draft constitution to its end and helping establish the current parliament, which is supposed to be of highest quality,” Roble said.