July 1, 2022

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The new Somali government and its many challenges

By Oscar Bravo Fong

Journalist in the Africa and Middle East editorial office of Prensa Latina

If both tasks are not resolved, along with mitigating the effects of drought in the national territory – the greatest in the past four decades – and economic progress, the administration of the new governor, who already governed the fates of that region from 2012 to 2017, analysts estimate. .

On the defensive front, the 66-year-old president told the local press that one of his goals is to ensure security in Mogadishu, the capital, and other areas such as Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions.

And this demarcation, like others in central and southern Somalia, constituted the scene of violent clashes in recent months between the national army, supported by the African Union Transitional Mission in Somalia (Atmis), and the extremist group Al-Shabab. in 2007.

And it seems that this last organization, which is considered by the authorities of that state in the Horn of Africa as a terrorist, in the past months, has apparently acquired its organizational and fighting capacity, as it carried out bloody operations in various regions using homemade bombs and suicide fighters. .

Although displaced by government forces and Atmis, which replaced AMISOM, the radical formation’s fighters are focusing their struggle on overthrowing the fragile internal administration that has the support of the United Nations.

According to United Nations data, as a result of attacks by the radical militia linked to Al-Qaeda, 669 people were killed in Somalia in 2021 alone, more than 70 the previous year.

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In the midst of this difficult context, the former Deputy Prime Minister, Fawzia Yousef, a presidential candidate in the recent elections, expressed her appreciation for the task of the new president who succeeded the former head of state, Muhammad Abdullah Muhammad, as the arduous task of building an efficient government, given the many competing interests.

In this sense, he considered that “since our system of government is currently based on the tribe, the people would expect him to elect people from the various tribes into his government.”

“So one of the challenges is to form a very strong government, with technocrats dependent not on tribes, but on merit,” he added.

with good feet

It did not go unnoticed by the Somali community that the transfer of power from the outgoing ruler Mohamed, known as Farmajo, to Mahmoud, took place in an atmosphere of peace, despite the postponement of the presidential and legislative elections for more than a year. In the midst of political disputes and between clans.

The incoming president confirmed in his first speech, after taking the oath in the presidential palace in the capital, that the former governor Farmajo handed him the presidential sash in peace.

Added to this is the fact that before these elections, the House of Representatives (275 members) and the Senate (54 seats) votes were also taken, which allows the path of institutions in this territory and the passing of new laws.

The appointment of the Prime Minister is still pending, and his name is unknown, and he must have an important role in organizing the work of ministerial portfolios.

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It is pertinent to note that the bicameral parliament elected Mahmoud as President of the State of Somalia in indirect elections after winning by 214 votes to 110 against his opponent, Farmajo.

On the other hand, one of the axes of Mahmoud’s election campaign was to replace the aforementioned indirect election system in those African lands with a universal suffrage mechanism, a goal that the previous ruler could not achieve, and in this way democratize this practice. .

In Somalia, legislators, who choose the country’s president, are in turn elected through a complex electoral system at the expense of state councils and delegates appointed by clans and other tribal groups, according to a constitutional criterion.

For many, the new head of state, who criticized society in his previous term for engaging in corruption, will have to cleverly maneuver to undo mistakes, such as the existence of political divisions and internal struggles for power, among other things. Problems.

Currently, the Somali government is facing, in addition to economic and security challenges, a severe drought that requires the mobilization of material and human resources, with the inconvenience of the limited financial resources of this country.

More than seven million Somali civilians are food insecure as a result of poor rains, according to data from humanitarian organizations and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, an eight-nation organization in East Africa.

For Mahmoud, who is considered an expert in the education sector and who formerly served as an official in the United Nations, despite these difficulties, in order to progress at the national level, it is necessary to build a united Somalia at peace with itself and with the world.

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Since 1991, when allied militias ousted the then president, Mohamed Siad Barre, Somalia has been considered a divided country lacking a strong central government, with clans and warlords dominating most of the national territory.

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