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Uhuru pledges support for Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi

Wednesday February 22 2017

ABDULKADIR KHALIF
By ABDULKADIR KHALIF
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HILLARY KIMUYU
By HILLARY KIMUYU
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President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday attended the inauguration of new Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

President Kenyatta arrived at Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu early in the morning and was received by senior Somali government officials.

President Kenyatta pledged Kenya’s continued support to Somalia, especially in restoring peace and stability.

AMISOM SUPPORT

“We shall continue working with other Amisom Troops Contributing Countries as well as the International Community to create an enabling environment for the reconstruction, development and sustainable peace in Somalia,” said the President.

The President urged the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad), the African Union and the International Community to focus their attention on Somalia and extend the necessary support to the new administration.

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He called on all regional players and the international community to join hands in dealing with external threats in the Horn of Africa, which is also currently experiencing severe drought.

EXTERNAL THREATS

“Our region is threatened by many external interests, including foreign terrorist actors and agents,” he said.

“We also face the threat of transnational and cross border crimes.”

President Kenyatta expressed hope that with the support of regional states and the international community, the new Somali leader would deal effectively with the challenges facing Somalia.

President Kenyatta also commended outgoing President Hassan Sheikh Hassan for the achievements his administration made in the last four years, especially the peaceful elections and orderly transfer of power.

PEACEFUL TRANSFER

“The successful elections and peaceful transfer of power are a clear demonstration of the desire and ability of the people of Somalia to strengthen governance structures and build sustainable peace,” said President Kenyatta.

European Union Special Representative to the Horn of Africa Ambassador Alex Rondos, who also attended the inauguration ceremony, appreciated the great sacrifices made by neighbouring countries towards the restoration of peace and stability in Somalia.

Ambassador Rodos expressed optimism that the new administration would also make similar sacrifices to the neighbouring countries.

The Somali capital was put under a security lockdown ahead and during the president’s inauguration.

LOCKDOWN

Schools, businesses and all roads were closed and commercial flights suspended, with only vehicles carrying security agents and dignitaries attending the swearing in ceremony allowed to move.

The inauguration took place at a heavily guarded airport zone for fear of Al-Shabaab attacks.

A fortnight ago, the capital was under another security lockdown as Somali lawmakers gathered at an airport hangar to elect the new president.

AMISOM

Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn were among other leaders who attended the ceremony.

Delegations from Kuwait and Egypt were also on attendance.

Mr Farmojo's win was greeted with euphoria in almost all the neighbourhoods of the Somali capital on January 15.

OPPONENTS

Mr Mohamed attained 184 votes while his two top opponents, the incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and predecessor Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, garnered a combined 119 votes in the February 8 contest.

Mr Mohamoud conceded defeat by taking up the microphone and telling the joint session of the Lower and Upper houses about his decision not to run for a third round.

His decision prompted a rapturous applause, paving the way for Mr Mohamed to be declared president.

Immediately, there were celebrations punctuated with gunfire outside the hall in Afasyoni, a complex next to Mogadishu’s Aden Abdulle International Airport, where the election took place.

STRONG BOND

As peace gesture, Mr Mohamed hosted his defeated rivals at the Jazeera Hotel, the coalition of presidential candidates, made up of 20 opposition contenders for the seat.

The president was advised to shun tribalism and avoid surrounding himself with a few individuals, but instead form a government that could lift the Somali people out of their predicament.

Many were the pledges Mr Mohamed made during the campaigns and in his address to the legislators prior to the presidential election.

He promised to establish strong bonds between the citizens and the government to enable the former participate in the stabilisation of the country through tax payments.

CLAN POWER

The president’s first major assignment will be the nomination of a prime minister.

In so doing, he will have to adhere to a complex clan power sharing plan known as the 4.5 formula.

Once the PM is approved by parliament, he or she will have to form a Cabinet and present a programme to be endorsed by parliament.

Mr Mohamed told the legislators: “My government will implement my ‘Nabad iyo Nolol’ (Peace and Life) programme.

Additional reporting by PSCU.