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Somali President Wants Another Tenure

  • James Butty

Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed

Somali President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed

A US-based Somali analyst says Somali President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed will have stiff competition in his bid for a second term.

The Somali president reportedly told the French News Agency Thursday in Nairobi that he is available for another term if Somalis trust him with the job.

According to a calendar backed by the international community, Somalia's fragile transitional institutions will have to be renewed in the next two months, and a new president elected by August 20.

Faysal Abdi Roble, a California-based Somali writer and analyst says many Somalis are not surprised by President Sharif’s decision to seek another term.

“I think it was very much expected simply because until now Sheikh Ahmed showed some type of likeness to continue his legacy, whether you like that legacy or not. He has promoted in some quarters of Somalia that he is the only one who can negotiate with the hardline Al-Shabab,” he said.

Roble also said President Sharif’s administration shows some stability and longevity during the transitional period simply because of the presence of African Union and Ethiopian forces.

“I think this has been the case, especially the longevity because the African Union and its AMISOM troops have very much subdued the warlords that have prevailed in Mogadishu and southern Somalia for about 22 years. Without the African Union’s AMISOM action, it would have been difficult for Sheriff Ahmed to continue his reign in Somalia,” Roble said.

He also credits the seeming stability of President Sharif’s administration to what he calls the professionalism of current Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali.

“The last Prime Minister who works for him (President Sharif) has been one of the most professional prime ministers to occupy that office. He (Abdiweli Mohamed Ali) has succeeded to deliver some of the benchmarks the international community wanted to see, such as the roadmap. And that helps President Sharif to stabilize his term quite significantly,” Roble said.

Roble said President Sharif will most likely be challenged by Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali in his bid for a second term.

“I think his number 1 challenger is the prime minister who is an American-educated professor of economics, and the first prime minister in the history of the transitional government of Somalia to have succeeded to show benchmarks and deliverables regarding the roadmap,” he said.

President Sharif told AFP that “during my presidency I dedicated my efforts mainly to fighting terrorism”. He said he will use his second term for nation building.

Roble said President Sharif has not done enough in fighting corruption.

“He has not done anything about corruption. Somalia has been dubbed the most corrupt society in the world, and most of that corruption took place under his auspices,” he said.

He cited a report issued this year by the World Bank which said that the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia TFG has not accounted for most of the revenues and donations it received in 2009 and 2010.

The report said auditors found that the government collected at least $94 million in revenues in 2009, but reported only $11 million in revenues. The report also said that in 2010, auditors found that the government collected $70 million in revenues, but reported just $22 million.

Roble also said Western nations are not quite sure whether President Sharif, himself a moderate Islamist, ever severed his ties with the militant group Al-Shabab.

“He usually moves very hesitantly and very reluctantly to hit them hard. That’s what the American generals are saying in Nairobi,” Roble said.

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