Presidential inauguration ushers in new era for Somalia

By Mahmoud Mohamed in Mogadishu

September 17, 2012

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Outgoing Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed officially handed over power to Hassan Sheikh Mohamud during an inauguration ceremony at the Police Academy headquarters in Mogadishu on Sunday (September 16th).

  • Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks during his inauguration ceremony on September 16th in Mogadishu. [Mahmoud Mohamed/Sabahi]

    Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud speaks during his inauguration ceremony on September 16th in Mogadishu. [Mahmoud Mohamed/Sabahi]

The ceremony, which was held under tight security, was attended by many international and regional figures, including Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh, Ethiopian Prime Minister Haile Mariam Desalegn, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bakir Bozdag and the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Jean Ping.

Representatives from Uganda, Sudan, Qatar, South Sudan, Iran, the United Nations, the African Union, the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation also attended the ceremony.

"Today, Somalis and the international community are witnessing a unique model that has not been seen in Somalia in four decades, which is the transitioning of power from an outgoing president to a democratically elected president," said parliament member Mohamed Ahmed. "This is the second time in the history of Somalia that a handover of power has occurred."

The first took place in the mid-1960s when President Aden Abdullahi Osman, Somalia's first president after independence, handed over power to President Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke.

"There is a difference between the two events however," Ahmed told Sabahi. "Today's joy is greater and stronger than that of the 1960s because the event we are celebrating today comes at a time when Somalia is undergoing a decisive historic transition that will take the country from a transitional to a permanent government. This stage will usher in a new era in the history of the modern republic of Somalia."

Ahmed Abdiqadir, a Mogadishu-based political analyst, called on all Somalis to work seriously with the new leadership to lift the country out of the crisis that it has been suffering for the past two decades.

"The new president cannot achieve everything alone, which is why all Somalis have to work together with the new president to move forward and rebuild the country," he told Sabahi.

Abdiqadir said the new president should focus first on the rebuilding and restructuring of the armed forces so that they can take charge of the country's security tasks. "At the end of the day, the new government will not be able to achieve stability in the country without the rebuilding of the national forces," he said.

Hussain Omar, a 54-year old Mogadishu resident, told Sabahi, "Somalis expect the new president to be a nationalist leader and that all the promises he made will not end up being empty slogans."

"We hope the new president can bring the change that this country desperately needs. I think he is a president that understands the situation of his country much better because he has lived here for the past two decades while the country was going through a civil war," he said.

"We are praying for the desired change and that the new president can lead the country towards peace, prosperity and glory."

President Mohamud pledges to end to terrorism and piracy

During his inauguration speech, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud pledged to work towards strengthening security, stabilising the country and putting an end to terrorism and piracy in Somalia.

"Today is a great day for the people of Somalia," he said. "Today, we close a chapter and turn a new page in the history of Somalia."

"My topmost priorities that come first, second and third will be to stabilise security and bring back stability to Somalia."

"We are working towards building a community that can peacefully co-exist with its neighbours and the world as a whole and we will work towards maintaining the security of neighbouring countries instead of creating a state of disorder and armed conflict," he said.

"I will spare no effort in ridding Somalia of pirates and terrorists," Mohamud said. "We want a Somalia free from piracy and terrorism and I hope that the Somali people will be liberated from the stereotypes for which they have been known around the world: such as Somalia being a country of terrorism, Somalia being a country of famine, Somalia being a country of piracy."

Mohamud referred to the topic of reconciliation and negotiations with Somaliland and stressed the importance of dialogue as one of his government's priorities.

"I will work towards reinforcing reconciliation amongst Somalis and to continue with negotiations with the administration of Somaliland to achieve Somali unity," Mohamud said. "Achieving unity of the Somali people should occur through a constructive dialogue without force or coercion."

He also said he would work towards developing the local economy by providing new jobs, and pledged to establish an independent judicial system.

Outgoing President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said, "It is my great honour to see Somalia reach this historic stage [… and] I urge all Somalis to work with the new president, his government and his parliament."

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Reader's Comments

  • xamse ciidagale
    September 26, 2012 @ 02:47:34PM

    I am requesting from the BBC to not exaggerate the problems in Somalia.

  • a[email protected]
    September 19, 2012 @ 03:14:09PM

    Somalia is undergoing a new phase and needs a new mentality far from political confusion and intellectual desertification. I think that the new president, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, will endeavor to bring about a significant change in all areas. We wish he will choose a highly qualified Prime Minister and a working Council of Ministers. What's striking though is that more than one presidential source confirmed to me that the President intends to appoint a well-known Islamic figure considered among the most prominent Islamists, and I reserve the right to keep his anonymity. This is a great disaster if President Hassan chooses an Islamist Prime Minister, because the President himself is an Islamist, and he cannot have another Islamist as his prime minister. We should also know that there is a large Somali group that cannot be ignored, which is the Somalis in Diaspora, who represent the Somali liberal trend and have a strong presence in Somali politics.

  • samiira
    September 18, 2012 @ 01:26:47AM

    Peace on to all Sabahi fraternity particularly to the journalist who wrote this article.  After greetings, I would like to praise the Lord and pray to Him to help our government to bring the problems in Somalia to end. Amen, oh! God.

  • Alfred Simiyu
    September 17, 2012 @ 10:21:41PM

    A new Somalia!! I rejoice with my friends all over Somalia. From Bossaso to Kismayo, from Xafun to Bandar Bayla to Garowe to Burtinle to Galkacyo. Belet Xawa to Bardhere, Burdhubo to GARBAHARREY. Gedweyne to Dollow. Happy New Somalia!!! Long Live the new Somalia

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