Somalia’s newly-elected President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed says his government during its first 100 days will focus on urgent issues, including security, economic recovery, political stability and debt relief.
Mohamed was elected for the second time on Sunday, defeating Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Mohamed returned to power after serving as president from 2012 to 2017.
“We want to implement what we want to do in our first 100 days in office. We seek to reform the old legal framework and structure of our security agencies; We want to federalize the security apparatus,” Mohamed told VOA Somali in an exclusive interview.
Fighting al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabaab, which has intensified its attacks in Mogadishu in recent months, is one of the biggest challenges facing the president.
Defeating al-Shabaab has been beyond the comprehension of Mohamed and every other Somali president since the group’s existence nearly 15 years ago. Mohamed knows firsthand the danger of al-Shabaab, having survived several assassination attempts during his first term.
However, Mohamed has expressed confidence that his country will take a turn, adding that securing Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, is one of his priorities in his first 100 days.
“To secure Mogadishu, we want to operate and secure it with corridors such as the lower and middle Shabele areas and we will establish a strong intelligence presence inside the city,” the president said. “We will seek support and cooperation from anyone interested in helping us ensure safety.”
Hours before the VOA exclusive interview, Mohamed welcomed word that US Special Operations Forces would again be based in Somalia to help in the fight against the terrorist group.
He thanked US President Joe Biden in a tweet on Tuesday, calling the United States “a credible partner in our quest for stability and the fight against terrorism.”
His re-election on Sunday comes after nearly a year of political uncertainty marked by disputes between the president and prime minister and the federal and regional levels of government.
The turmoil almost boiled over in February 2021 when parliament passed a resolution to extend President Mohamed’s term by two years. Facing strong pressure both domestically and abroad, lawmakers reversed their decision.
Despite assuming office with difficult tasks, Mohammed resolved to lead the country towards peace and reconciliation.
“Creating political stability is also one of my priorities in my first 100 days. We must strike an inclusive agreement with the leaders of federal member states that unionizes the most important issues, including security,” he said.
While in office, Mohamed said he would work on a national plan that would do away with the complicated clan-based election formula and move the country towards a one-man, one-vote system.
“When I was handing over my presidency in 2016, I also submitted a detailed plan that would move the country to a different voting system and now I plan to work on that so that the county does not revert to the controversial clan. Go based power sharing system,” he told VOA.
Mohamed said he would soon nominate a prime minister and work on legal reforms designed to resolve the old power struggle between Somali presidents and prime ministers, which derailed the efforts of previous governments and the federal government. Cooperation between institutions weakened.