Signs of high hopes among Somalis for upcoming government

Hassan Muse Hussein in Garowe and Mahmoud Mohamed in Mogadishu contributed to this report.

September 07, 2012

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Somali citizens have welcomed the formation of Somalia's new parliament and urged lawmakers to improve the situation of the country and elect a capable cabinet and president.

  • Former Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (right) and other parliamentarians are sworn in on August 20th. [Mahmoud Mohamed/Sabahi]

    Former Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali (right) and other parliamentarians are sworn in on August 20th. [Mahmoud Mohamed/Sabahi]

Many Somalis view the final stage of the transition as a major step toward changing the difficult conditions the country faces.

The end of the transition started with the swearing in of the new parliamentarians on August 20th. On August 28th, Somalis stayed up late to learn who became the parliament's new speaker in the first parliamentary election inside Somalia in decades.

"The fact that Professor Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari succeeded in becoming the speaker of the parliament is a sign that the country has entered a new phase, and the expectation is that academics will be a dominant presence in the other organisations following this one," said Mohamed Farah Ahmed, a 41-year old resident of Garowe. "Our opinion is that we will be able to move past all the problems we have experienced."

Ahmed Sheikh Ali, a 52-year old father of nine from Mogadishu, said he has high expectations for the presidential elections scheduled for September 10th.

Ali said he is optimistic that this election will be launching pad for progress and an exit to the state of chaos and civil war that has engulfed Somalia and consumed thousands of innocent lives for the past two decades.

"On August 25th, members of parliament elected a technocrat to lead the legislative institution, and I hope that on the tenth of this month they will be able to elect the best man among the competing presidential candidates to lead the country," he said.

"A new page in the history of this country has been turned, and the country is in need of national leadership at this historical period. For this reason, we call on members of parliament to take advantage of this window of opportunity to save the country," he told Sabahi. "They must elect a patriotic and loyal president who serves the public interest, rather than his own personal interest and focuses on serving his people and his country."

Bisharo Hassan, a 30-year old student at the Institute of Management at Puntland State University in Garowe, said finally moving away from a transitional government will restore faith among Somalis in a functional and central government.

"Transitional Federal Government institutions, under which Somalia functioned for the last several years, limited the government's abilities. Moving away from them will enable a new government to [carry out the country's business] on the world stage," Hassan said.

Expectations of internally displaced persons

The recent changes have also been welcomed by internally displaced persons (IDPs) who want to return to the homes they left because of ongoing violence, according to Isaac Abdi Hassan, a leader in a refugee camp in Garowe.

"The constant question in our minds is when we will get a government to rescue us from our dismal existence and the constant problems facing refugees," he told Sabahi, adding that he wonders when IDPs will be able to return.

Some displaced Somalis living in camps say they anticipate a brighter future and their life conditions to change after the upcoming presidential elections and the formation of the new government.

"We hope the next government will effectively look after the affairs of its citizens," said Hassan Osman, a 49-year old IDP in the Barwaqo Camp in Mogadishu's Waberi District.

Osman, who fled Lower Shabelle last year, leaving behind all his belongings, explained that IDPs are living under very difficult conditions. He said that food and medicine as well as other aid provided by humanitarian agencies are being looted by armed militias in the city.

"We have been living in this camp for 13 months and we are without jobs, schools or lavatories," he told Sabahi. "We feel that the government has not taken enough interest in our situation, but we look forward to a better future and improvements in our living conditions after the formation of the new government."

Mohamed Aden, an IDP living in Tawakal Camp in southern Mogadishu, said he has high expectations for the government that will emerge once the presidential election is over.

"After the upcoming elections, Somalia will go from a transitional system to a stable government and the whole world will support and assist us. We hope things will change for the better and that we are able find stability and live in dignity."

"We expect an act of generosity from the next government and a change in our current reality," he told Sabahi, adding that he wants the government to help return IDPs to their farms. "We lost faith in the previous governments, but this time around, we hope for a dramatic change."

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Reader's Comments

  • samatar
    September 11, 2012 @ 09:30:49AM

    Brother the somalia president I welcome for he is the man we waited for, for 22 years and we are happy with very much. congratulations congratulations congratulations

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