The election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud–who had been neither a seasoned politician nora popular figure prior to his debut–has astounded many political analysts and turned dreams of heavy weight presidential hopefuls’ upside-down, but the new president must stomach all hard circumstances that are ahead of him and lie in wait for him if he is quite committed to piecing together his shuttered country with its displaced distraught population.
Somalia has been in tatters for more than two decades and defied all kinds of norms. But now, as it appears, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, for the elected president has been warmly welcomed and hailed countrywide; besides, he is well versed in his people’s many-sided predicament. Hence, he can become the first president in the post-civil war era under whose leadership the Somali people may unite and prosper. But without coming up with cunning techniques and strategies, President Hassan’s administration might not be that much different than his predecessors’, apart from the fact that his government is not a transitional one anymore.
Different ideologies and forces with varied demands and characteristics are, in fact, battling over Somalia. So the president is required to face up to and deal with these forces and ideologies accordingly, but if he overlooks to uncover or invent solutions for the country’s multifaceted problems, his administration is certainly doomed to fail. Hence he is beginning to shoulder a tiresome task from the get go.
The country’s people are divided visibly and invisibly. And without establishing and solidifying institutions and platforms with which to use for winning the people’s heart and minds, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s administration will not go past crawling stage. Therefore, his first priority must be to build the country’s ruined institutions, prioritizing their sequences.
Secondly, he should roll up his sleeves and strive for the country’s unity, labouring on how to make the hearts of its people accept one other. Should he fail to achieve this goal, his direction will not be much different than that of his predecessors. Yes, the president’s tenure is limited to four years, which is not that long considering all that is awaiting him, but he must not leave any stone unturned to maximize his efforts and dwell on fundamental issues that matter most.
To use the words of President Abraham Lincoln, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” As long as Somalis continue their internal strife, it is quite hard to establish a strong state or rebuild the country. For this reason, the multifaceted infighting ought to be ended and replaced with amicable atmosphere in which the Somali people can heal and prosper. However, some bottom-up debates and dialogues can only bring about such understanding and healing, so the president must engage and empower all strata of the Somali society to create a united, strong Somalia.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud understands the significance of his people’s unity more than anybody else. He has lived in their midst and felt their chronic pain for a long time. He knows the toll that division and distrust have taken on his nation, and the heavy price the nation had already paid after it lost its unity and strength.
And here, unity does not only allude to bringing unilaterally breakaway regions back to the fold, but the aforesaid unity implies more than that; it alludes to uniting hearts and minds and bringing about a permanent healing for the Somali nation, this fractured nation.
Somalis are suffering both locally and externally. There are hundred thousands of people who are internally displaced and live in deplorable conditions. They are in need of an urgent assistance and caring hands. So President Hassan should be this urgent assistance and helping hand. Let the displaced people feel a difference, or else the president will not be an impactful one.
There are, on the other hand, close to a half million Somalis who are helpless refugees and suffering in neighboring countries, hoping they could return to their motherland one day. And it is the responsibility of the president to enable the refugees to come back to their homes, or else they will eventually lose faith in him, too. Hence, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud must buckle up to bring the refugees back to the country. They have terribly sufferered and yearn to go back.
But President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud cannot normalize the country if he does not invest in its security apparatus. Peace is very precious and whoever is deprived of it is deprived of everything else, indeed. So here, the president must not kid himself; he cannot do anything unless he builds a strong army forces for the country. Therefore, he ought to strengthen what is already there and in place and also put seventy five percent of his energy into creating vibrant, well trained armed forces of different categories. Is this a far-fetched task, though? No, if he makes it his first priority.
Should he underestimate the significant of the armed forces, his administration will terribly fail. The stability of this country cannot always depend on borrowed soldiers from other countries. All those young men who sit idly in every corner of the country and have been deprived of education and other opportunities can serve as abundant members of the country’s security apparatus. Let him employ and engage them.
President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud came to power based on his people’s choice, but what is awaiting him is a tedious task. And history will record what his administration brings about and how he resolves issues and rules the country during his tenure.