Dual US-Somali Citizen is Somalia’s New President
Who is Faramajo?
Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Faramajo was picked by Members of the Federal Parliament of Somalia on Feb. 8 to be the 9th President of Somalia. The Somali diplomat, professor, entrepreneur, and politician was born on April 1962, in Mogadishu, Somalia. He holds a B.A in History, and a M.A in Political Science from The University of New York – Buffalo. He previously served as Prime Minister of Somalia from November 2010 – June 2011, and was a former ambassador of Somalia to the United States (1985-1989), and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somalia before the collapse of the Federal government in 1991.
Hope for Somalia
The ongoing civil war in Somalia, which grew out of resistance to the Siad Barre regime during the 1980’s, has made it difficult for the country to form a stable centralized government. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, more commonly known as “Farmajo,” ran for president against 19 opponents. However, this campaign was seen as the most inspirational and hopeful by Somalis worldwide. President Mohamed was the least associated with “bribery and corruption” according to senior diplomats, which gave him a fair advantage in his victory. The newly elected president also based his campaign on nationalism, freedom from famine, and the defeat of Al-Shabaab.
Faramajo stated in an article published by VOA that, “There is a huge drought everywhere in Somalia which definitely will produce a famine. We have to appeal to the international community to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected people in Somalia.” Drought and famine are two of the leading causes of death in high numbers of children and live stock. Also, the terrorist organization, Al-Shabaab which strongly benefited from the collapse of the Somali government, continues to be one of the biggest challenges that the country still faces.
Sakariye Cismaan, a London-based Somali political analyst stated that, “Security is going to be his biggest challenge and the main issue that he will ultimately be judged on. But he really has a golden opportunity here. He has the entire population behind him who are now feeling more patriotic than ever. He can use that support to delegitimize al-Shabab”.
Abdiweli Mohamed Aligas, professor of economics at Niagara University in Buffalo, New York, told VOA, “The new prime minister’s experience should enable him to handle Somalia’s many problems”. Somalia has a four year presidential term, similar to the U.S. The Federal government of Somalia consists of a House of the People with 54 representatives, and a Lower House expected to be composed of 275 MP’s, as of April 6, 2015.
Somalia & United States Relations
Since “President” Trump took office last month, one of the newly enacted executive orders imposes citizens from 7 majority Muslim countries (including Somalia). Banning them temporarily for 90 days from entering the United States. President Mohamed as aforementioned is both a U.S and Somali citizen–growing up and spending most of his adult life in Buffalo, NY. According to VOA News, the new president says he will work to have his country removed from “the list of nations whose citizens were, and may yet be, barred from entering the United States”. Faramajo also mentioned to VOA News, “It is part of my responsibility to talk about this issue with the U.S. government by conveying our message to the president and his government that the Somali people are really good, hard working people. They raise their families in the United States. So we will see if he can change that policy and exclude Somalis from that list”. Before running for office in Somalia, Faramajo was Commissioner for Equal Employment at the New York State Department of Transportation in Buffalo, and taught leadership skills and conflict resolution at Erie Community College. The new president and his new team have high hopes of resolving relationships with the U.S and are continuing to push lawmakers to repeal the ban.
What makes Faramajo an inspirational delegate is his popularity within the Somali community around the world. Even winning the electoral vote against former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, 184 to 97. He is the first Somali president credible and knowledgeable in politics along with previous experience working in government before the collapse of the Somali government in 1990. During his time in office, Farmajo was credited with “ensuring that government workers and soldiers were paid on time, cracking down on corruption and helping liberate territories from Al-Shabab”, (VOA).
Many Somalis around the world are rooting for him, and are singing his praises. Somali political analyst Sakariye Cismaan also stated, “The Somali people really trust him and believe he will put the common good before his own self-interest, The whole country is extremely optimistic now”.
Let’s hope that Farmajo sets a new bar for Somalia during his presidency.