Hassan Sheikh Mohamud

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Hassan Sheikh Mohamud
حسن شيخ محمود
2013 04 19 President Hassan Sheik Mohamud c (8667048035).jpg
8th President of Somalia
Assumed office
16 September 2012
Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali
Abdi Farah Shirdon
Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed
Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke
Preceded by Mohamed Osman Jawari (Acting)
Chairman of the Peace and Development Party
Assumed office
20 April 2011
Preceded by Office established
Personal details
Born (1955-11-29) 29 November 1955 (age 59)
Jalalaqsi, Trust Territory of Somaliland
Political party Independent (Before 2011)
Peace and Development Party (2011–present)
Alma mater Somali National University
Bhopal University
Eastern Mennonite University
Religion Islam
Signature

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somali: Xasan Sheekh Maxamuud, Arabic: حسن شيخ محمود‎) (born 29 November 1955) is a Somali politician. He is the 8th and current President of Somalia, having been elected on 10 September 2012 and inaugurated six days later. A civil and political activist, Mohamud was previously a university professor and dean.[1] He is also the founder and Chairman of the Peace and Development Party (PDP). In April 2013, Mohamud was named to the Time 100, TIME magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. His efforts at advancing national reconciliation, anti-corruption measures, and socio-economic and security sector reforms in Somalia were cited as reasons for the selection.[2]

Background[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Mohamud was born in November 1955 in Jalalaqsi, a small agricultural town situated in the central Hiran of present-day Somalia, during the trusteeship period.[3] He is a member of the Abgaal Hawiye clan,[4] and comes from a middle-class background.[5]

Mohamud is married and has children.[6] He speaks Somali and English.[7]

Education[edit]

Mohamud frequented primary and secondary schools in his hometown.[8] He later moved to Somalia's capital Mogadishu in 1978, where he studied for three years at the local Somali National University. In 1981, he earned an undergraduate diploma in technology from the institution.[3][6]

In 1986, Mohamud journeyed to India and began attending Bhopal University (now Barkatullah University). There, he completed a master's degree in technical education in 1988.[6] Mohamud is also a graduate of Eastern Mennonite University's Summer Peacebuilding Institute based in Harrisonburg, Virginia. In 2001, he completed three of the SPI's intensive courses, studying mediation, trauma healing, and designing learner-centered trainings.[9]

Early career[edit]

In a professional capacity, Mohamud accepted a position as an instructor and trainer at the Lafole Technical Secondary School.[8] He later joined the Somali National University-affiliated Technical Teachers' Training College in 1984.[8][10] In 1986, he became the department's head.[8]

When the civil war broke out in the early 1990s, Mohamud remained in Somalia and acted as a consultant with various NGOs, UN bureaus, and peace and development projects.[10] He worked as an education officer for UNICEF in the central and southern parts of the country from 1993 to 1995. In 1999, he also co-established the Somali Institute of Management and Administration (SIMAD) in the capital. The institution subsequently grew into the SIMAD University, with Mohamud acting as dean until 2010.[7]

Mohamud entered Somali politics the following year, when he established the independent Peace and Development Party (PDP).[7] PDP members unanimously elected him as the party's chairman in April 2011, with a mandate to serve as leader for the next three years.[11]

In August 2012, Mohamud was selected as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the newly formed Federal Parliament of Somalia.[10] Besides academic and civic work, he is also a successful entrepreneur.[12]

Philanthropy[edit]

Mohamud has ties with Al-Islah, Somalia's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.[10] With the organisation, he assisted in various philanthropic initiatives, including the construction of primary and secondary schools, plus university facilities and research hospitals in regions across the country. The network has also offered scholarships for higher studies and placements in educational institutions to many students.[3]

President of Somalia[edit]

Elections[edit]

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud at his presidential inauguration ceremony, September 2012.

On 10 September 2012, legislators elected Mohamud President of Somalia during the country's 2012 presidential elections.[13] Members of parliament marked their ballot papers behind a curtain before casting them in a clear box in front of foreign envoys and hundreds of Somali men and women as well as being broadcast live on television. After the first round of voting, former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed emerged as the frontrunner, amassing 64 votes. Mohamud was a close second with 60 votes, and Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali placed third with 32 votes.[14] Along with the fourth-place finisher Abdiqadir Osoble, Ali later chose to drop out ahead of the second round.[14] Both challengers, along with the other hopefuls that were vying for the post, thereafter reportedly instructed their supporters to back Mohamud's candidacy.[15] Mohamud went on to earn a lopsided win in the final round, defeating Ahmed 71–29% (190 votes vs. 79 votes).[4]

Immediately after the final ballot results had been read out, Mohamud was sworn into office.[10] Lawmakers began singing Somalia's national anthem, and Mogadishu's residents also expressed satisfaction at the outcome, viewing it as a moment of change.[16]

In his acceptance speech, President Mohamud thanked the general Somali populace, the Federal Parliament, as well as the other challengers. He also voiced support for the ongoing post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Somalia and indicated that he was prepared to work closely with the international community.[4]

President Mohamud speaking with journalist Abdirahman Yabarow.

Additionally, Ahmed congratulated Mohamud on his victory and pledged to cooperate with the new head of state.[4] Prime Minister Ali touted the selection as the start of a new era in Somali politics.[17] Abdirahman Mohamud Farole, President of the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia, also thanked Mohamud, the Somali people, and all of the other stakeholders that were involved in the Roadmap political process, which ultimately led to the presidential election and the end of the transitional period.[4]

Mohamud's appointment was welcomed throughout the world. The UN Special Representative for Somalia Augustine Mahiga issued a statement describing the election as a "great step forward on the path to peace and prosperity[...] Somalia has proved the doubters wrong and sent a powerful message of progress to all of Africa and indeed to the entire world". Similarly, the AU Commission for Somalia hailed the selection and pledged to support the new leadership.[18] British Prime Minister David Cameron and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also extended their congratulations, echoing the general sentiment that the election represented a significant achievement.[10] The United States government in turn released a press statement felicitating Mohamud on his victory, which it qualified as "an important milestone for the people of Somalia, and a crucial step forward along the path of building a representative government". It also urged the Somali authorities to build on this momentum, and promised to continue partnering with the Somali government.[19] In addition, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cabled a message of congratulations to Somalia's new head of state, as did the UAE's Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as well as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.[20] Former President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi also phoned Mohamud to congratulate him on his victory, and wished him success in his national reconciliation and peacebuilding endeavors.[20]

On 16 September 2012, Mohamud was formally inaugurated as President of Somalia at a ceremony attended by various foreign leaders and dignitaries. UN Special Envoy to Somalia Mahiga described the moment as the beginning of a "new era" for the nation as well as the conclusion of the transitional period.[21]

Cabinet[edit]

On 6 October 2012, President Mohamud appointed political newcomer Abdi Farah Shirdon as the new Prime Minister of Somalia.[22] On 4 November 2012, Shirdon named a new Cabinet,[23] which was later endorsed by the legislature on 13 November 2012.[24]

Targeted attack[edit]

On 12 September 2012, while President Mohamud was meeting with foreign delegates in Mogadishu, two suicide bombers and two gunmen dressed in government uniforms attempted an attack on the Jazeera Hotel where the dignitaries had convened. There were reportedly around 10 casualties, among which were three Somali security detail, one AU peacekeeper, and the assailants themselves.[25] None of the assembled statesmen, including Kenyan Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri, were harmed.[26] Seemingly unfazed by the incidents, President Mohamud continued his speech before the gathered press and foreign officials, stating that "things like what's happening now outside will continue for some time, but I'm sure and I'm confident it's the last things that's taking place here in Somalia[...] We have been hearing such events frequently, but this is a special case. We didn't hear it for the last couple of months even."[27] He added that "first and foremost we will address the security issue. Priority number one is security and priority number two and priority number three."[17] The Al-Shabaab militant group later claimed responsibility for the attacks. According to Somali government officials, AU forces have assumed responsibility for President Mohamud's security while investigations are launched into the incidents.[25]

On 3 September 2013, a roadside bomb detonated near vehicles in President's Mohamud's convoy in Merca. One Somali soldier was injured in the blast, but Mohamud was unharmed and continued on to his destination. Al-Shabaab later claimed responsibility for the explosion. Abdirahman Omar Osman, a spokesman for the president, dismissed the group's statement as propaganda, indicating that Mohamud's convoy was not targeted and that it was uncertain what might have happened to an earlier convoy.[28]

Domestic policy[edit]

Lifting of arms embargo[edit]

Upon assuming office, President Mohamud and his Cabinet resumed efforts by Somali and international stakeholders to end the 21-year UN arms embargo on Somalia,[29] the oldest such global weapons blockade.[30] The Security Council had imposed the prohibition in 1992, shortly after the start of the civil war and the toppling of the Siad Barre regime, in order to stop the flow of weapons to feuding militia groups.[29] An eventual repeal of the embargo had been among the future objectives of the signatories in the transitional Roadmap political process of 2011–2012.[31] Mohamud's government, Somali security analysts and military experts argued that lifting the ban on the procurement of arms would facilitate the Somali authorities' attempts at strengthening the Somali Armed Forces, and would more effectively equip the military to quash the remnants of the Islamist insurgency.[32] The United States,[29] African Union,[32] Arab League,[33] and IGAD all backed the proposal.[34] In March 2013, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon likewise urged Security Council members to vote to remove the sanctions so as to help the Somali authorities fortify their security apparatus and consolidate military gains.[35]

Although Britain and France reportedly expressed reservations over increasing the general flow of arms into Somalia, UK officials began drafting a resolution to ease the embargo on weapons purchases by the Somali government for a provisional period of one year.[29] The draft resolution would require either the Somali authorities or the state supplying the military equipment to notify the council "at least five days in advance of any deliveries of weapons and military equipment[...] providing details of such deliveries and assistance and the specific place of delivery in Somalia." Additionally, the proposal mandates that the Somali government should routinely provide updates on the army's structural status, as well as information on the extant infrastructure and protocols designed to ensure the weaponry's safe delivery, storage and maintenance.[35]

In its 6 March 2013 meeting, the 15-member UN Security Council unanimously approved Resolution 2093 to suspend the arms embargo on Somalia for a one-year period. The endorsement officially lifts the purchase ban on light weapons, but retains certain restrictions on the procurement of heavy arms such as surface-to-air missiles, howitzers and cannons.[30]

In January 2014, at an African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, President Mohamud requested an extension of the UN Security Council's weapons purchasing mandate for Somalia. He indicated that the Somali defence forces required better military equipment and arms to more effectively combat militants.[36] On 5 March 2014, the UN Security Council unanimously voted to extend the partial easing of the arms embargo on Somalia until 25 October of the year.[37]

National reconciliation[edit]

In April 2013, President Mohamud resumed national reconciliation talks between the central government in Mogadishu and the regional authorities in Hargeisa. Organized by the government of Turkey in Ankara, the meeting ended with a signed agreement between Mohamud and Ahmed Mahamoud Silanyo, President of the northwestern Somaliland region, agreeing to allocate fairly to the Somaliland region its portion of the development aid earmarked for Somalia as a whole and to cooperate on security.[38]

In August 2013, the Somali federal government signed a national reconciliation agreement in Addis Ababa with the autonomous Jubaland administration based in southern Somalia. Endorsed by the federal State Minister for the Presidency Farah Abdulkadir on behalf of President Mohamud, the pact was brokered by the Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia and came after protracted bilateral talks. Under the terms of the agreement, Jubaland will be administered for a two-year period by a Juba Interim Administration and led by the region's incumbent president, Ahmed Mohamed Islam (Madobe). The regional president will serve as the chairperson of a new Executive Council, to which he will appoint three deputies. Management of Kismayo's seaport and airport will also be transferred to the Federal Government after a period of six months, and revenues and resources generated from these infrastructures will be earmarked for Jubaland's service delivery and security sectors as well as local institutional development. Additionally, the agreement includes the integration of Jubaland's military forces under the central command of the Somali National Army (SNA), and stipulates that the Juba Interim Administration will command the regional police.[39][40] UN Special Envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay hailed the pact as "a breakthrough that unlocks the door for a better future for Somalia,"[41] with AUC, UN, EU and IGAD representatives also present at the signing.[40]

In February 2015, Mohamud chaired a three-day consultation forum in Mogadishu with presidents Abdiweli Mohamed Ali, Ahmed Mohamed Islam and Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan of the Puntland, Jubaland and South West State regional administrations, respectively. Under the rubric of the New Deal for Somalia, Mohamud held additional national reconciliation talks with the regional leaders in Garowe in April and May of the year.[42] The officials therein signed a seven-point agreement in Garowe authorizing the immediate deployment of the 3,000 troops from Puntland toward the Somali National Army.[43] They also agreed to integrate soldiers from the other regional states into the SNA.[44]

Vote of confidence #1[edit]

In November 2013, President Mohamud asked Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon to resign from office on the grounds that Shirdon was allegedly ineffective in the job. Mohamud was reportedly acting on the advice of the State Minister for Presidency, Farah Abdulkadir.[45] On 12 November 2013, Shirdon confirmed that there was a dispute between himself and the president, but indicated that the row was constitutional rather than political. He also asserted that the matter should be resolved in parliament.[46] According to MP Mohamed Abdi Yusuf, the rift between Mohamud and Shirdon centered over through what constitutional mechanism and by whom the Cabinet was ultimately to be formed.[47]

On 24 November 2013, 168 MPs led by former TFG Parliament Speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan endorsed a document submitted to parliament, which outlined a motion against Prime Minister Shirdon's administration.[48][49] A parliamentary vote of confidence was later held against Shirdon on 2 December 2013. Parliament Speaker Mohamed Osman Jawari subsequently announced that 184 of the present MPs had voted against Shirdon, whereas 65 legislators had voted to retain him.[50] On 5 December 2013, Shirdon released a statement confirming that he and his Cabinet accepted the legislature's decision.[51] UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay paid tribute to the outgoing Prime Minister, noting that Shirdon had endeavoured to promote growth and progress and was an important principal in establishing the New Deal Compact between Somalia and its international partners. He also commended the legislators on adhering to procedural rules during the vote, and pledged to work constructively with the succeeding administration.[52]

On 12 December 2013, President Mohamud named veteran economist Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed as the new Prime Minister.[53]

Benadir administration and Chief of Staff[edit]

In February–March 2014, Mohamud began a reformation of the Mogadishu Chief of Staff and Benadir regional administration in an effort to strengthen their senior leadership.[54] On 27 February 2014, he issued a presidential decree naming former military court chairman Hassan Mohamed Hussein Mungab as the new Mayor of Mogadishu and Governor of the Banaadir region. Part of an effort to firm up on municipal security, the appointment came after consultations with Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed and Interior Minister Abdullahi Godah Barre. Mungab replaced Mohamed Nur (Tarsan) in the mayorship.[55] The same month, President Mohamud also replaced Kamal Dahir Hassan "Gutale" as Chief of Staff. Through a presidential decree issued on 10 March, Mohamud likewise sacked the General Secretary of the Benadir regional administration Abdikafi Hassan, as well as Benadir's Deputy Governors Ali Iikar Gure and Warsame Mohamed Ahmed "Jodah". Mohamud concurrently reassigned former Chief of Staff Hassan as the Benadir administration's new Deputy Governor.[54]

Youth development initiatives[edit]

In August 2014, on the occasion of the U.S.-Africa summit in Washington, D.C., President Mohamud announced a number of new development projects aimed at Somalia's youth. The conference was the largest of its kind to be held by an incumbent United States administration, and was attended by the heads of state and government of all of Africa's countries. Of the new youth initiatives that the Federal Government of Somalia is slated to implement, Mohamud indicated that a comprehensive youth empowerment framework would be prioritized, with attendant legislation and policies. A university accreditation system, an employment creation program, and youth enterprise would also be developed. Additionally, local and regional youth representation in civil, political and governmental activities would be enhanced. To this end, two Youth Advisers would be named to the Office of the President, and the minimum age for prospective officeholders would be lowered to 18. Leadership of Somalia's first national park would also be assigned to young managers so as to strengthen environmental preservation and potential tourism opportunities. In coastal areas, jobs in marine ecosystem management and sustainable fishing would be generated. Additional opportunities would be made available through the introduction of fiber optics and 3G. The federal government would likewise support the establishment of the Somali Film Council. According to Mohamud, the Somali federal government delegation is scheduled to meet with its U.S. partners to discuss further ways to promote economic growth and investment in Somalia, with the objective of creating new opportunities, empowering youth, and strengthening ties between both nations.[56]

International Bank of Somalia[edit]

In October 2014, President Mohamud officially opened the International Bank of Somalia (IBS) at a ceremony in Mogadishu. A number of invited officials attended the inauguration event, including Mayor of Mogadishu and Benadir Governor Hassan Mohamed Hussein Mungab, Minister of Finance Hussein Abdi Halane, Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction Nadifo Mohamed Osman, Vice Chairman of the Central Bank of Somalia, Chamber of Commerce representatives, and businesspeople. The bank was established by a group of entrepreneurs, whom the gathered officials commended for their commitment to providing international banking services to facilitate local commercial activities. Additionally, the Chairman of the bank indicated that the institution possessed a swift code permitting internal banking, and that its emphasis would be on developing the nation's livestock, agricultural and other economic resources.[57]

Vote of confidence #2[edit]

In October–November 2014, a rift developed between President Mohamud and new Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed over a cabinet reshuffle by Ahmed. On 25 October, Premier Ahmed transferred former Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Farah Sh. Abdulkadir Mohamed, Peace and Development Party member and former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Mahad Mohamed Salad, and other key allies of Mohamud to other positions within the Council of Ministers.[58][59] Mohamud immediately issued a statement declaring the cabinet reshuffle null and void, arguing that he had not been consulted about the move. He also ordered all of the reassigned ministers to carry on with their ordinary duties.[60]

On 27 October, UN Special Envoy to Somalia Nicholas Kay met with Mohamud and Ahmed at the Villa Somalia compound in an unsuccessful attempt to broker an agreement between the two officials. Puntland Information Minister Abdiweli Hirsi Abdulle also suggested that the row should be resolved through constitutional means, asserted that the Puntland regional administration was prepared to mediate between the two federal leaders, and called on international representatives to do the same.[61] Similarly, Speaker of the Federal Parliament Mohamed Osman Jawari indicated that he was confident that the disagreement could be resolved through legal channels.[62]

In early November, UN Ambassador Kay and EU representatives Alexander Rondos and Michele Cervone issued separate press statements urging President Mohamud and Prime Minister Ahmed to set aside their differences for the greater communal good, and to continue instead working toward the goals enshrined in Vision 2016. Kay also expressed concern about the possibility of vote buying marring a parliamentary vote of confidence, and indicated that any such potential political disruption would be reported to the UN Security Council. Similarly, Rondos and Cervone in their capacity as financial stakeholders urged the Federal MPs to adhere to standard legislative protocols.[63][64] On 3 November, President Mohamud issued a statement assuring the international community of his administration's continued commitment to fulfilling Vision 2016. He also called on foreign partners to respect Somalia's sovereignty and allow its legislative process to proceed constitutionally.[65] On 4 November, during a special parliamentary session, several federal lawmakers expressed disappoint over Ambassador Kay's statement, asking that he either apologize or step down from office.[66][67] Other legislators from Puntland supported Kay's press release, which emphasized governmental continuity and unity.[68]

President Mohamud and Prime Minister Ahmed concurrently began holding consultations with various Federal MPs to gather support ahead of a potential vote of confidence.[68] On 6 November, IGAD Special Envoy to Somalia Ambassador Abdi Afey met with the two leaders to try and broker an agreement, and also conferred with Parliament Speaker Jawari.[69] Additionally, almost 100 MPs concurrently lodged a no confidence motion against Prime Minister Ahmed. Although Federal Parliament Speaker Jawari received the motion, a date of deliberation in the legislature was not specified.[70]

On 9 November, Federal Parliament Speaker Jawari and international representatives began separate mediation efforts in a final attempt to resolve the differences between President Mohamud and Prime Minister Ahmed.[71] The Egyptian government also called for an urgent meeting of the Somalia Committee within the Arab League to assist in the reconciliation talks.[72] On 10 November, the U.S. Department of State issued a statement likewise indicating that a parliamentary vote of confidence would be counterproductive. It instead urged the Federal Government of Somalia's leaders to unite, and suggested that the U.S. authorities would not attend a conference in Copenhagen on Somalia's New Deal as long as the FGS's leadership was divided.[73]

On 11 November, legislators met in parliament to deliberate on the no-confidence motion. Supporters of Prime Minister Ahmed subsequently began to make noise, effectively precluding any discussion. Consequently, Federal Parliament Speaker Jawari indefinitely adjourned the session.[74]

On 11 November, a spokesman for the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office reiterated the international community's call for all Somali parties to set aside their differences, respect parliamentary protocol, and work together for the greater good.[75] Due to the political infighting, the Danish government also canceled a planned meeting in Copenhagen between President Mohamud and global Somali community members ahead of the New Deal conference on Somalia.[76] On 14 November, the U.S. government likewise warned that it would cut financial assistance to Somalia if the top Somali Federal Government officials did not resolve their differences.[77]

On 15 November, a second attempt to hold a parliamentary vote of confidence again failed. Over 100 lawmakers sang the national anthem and held up placards supporting Prime Minister Ahmed, prompting Federal Parliament Speaker Jawari to indefinitely adjourn the session.[78]

On 16 November, MP supporters of President Mohamud presented a letter to Federal Parliament Speaker Jawari calling for him to convene the legislature so that the vote of confidence could take place.[79] Deputy Prime Minister Ridwan Hersi Mohamed and a number of cabinet ministers and lawmakers supporting Prime Minister Ahmed concurrently met in the capital, and issued a four-point statement defending the cabinet's independence and demanding an end to outside interference with its functions.[80] On 17 November, 14 ministers within the 50 member cabinet signed a counter-petition asking the Prime Minister to resign in order to safeguard national interests. Believed to be supporters of the President, the ministerial officials also indicated that they themselves would step down from their positions if the Premier declined to do so within 24 hours.[81] On 18 November, Prime Minister Ahmed convened the first Cabinet meeting in several weeks, after which Deputy Prime Minister Ridwan Hersi Mohamed announced that any minister who was unable to work with the government was free to resign and make way for a replacement.[82]

On 24 November, a third attempt to hold a parliamentary vote of confidence ended in chaos. Lawmakers supporting Prime Minister Ahmed shredded the attendance register as well as their copies of the motion. They also immediately began yelling when Federal Parliament Speaker Jawari entered the hall, prompting the legislative leader to indefinitely adjourn the session.[83] Jawari subsequently issued a statement postponing all parliamentary sessions until a lasting and effective resolution to the rift could be found.[84]

On 24 November, Prime Minister Ahmed released a statement indicating that he made the Cabinet reshuffle to ameliorate the performance of the Council of Ministers and resolve internal wrangles. He likewise indicated that the directive was in line with Article 100 (a) and (b) of the Provisional Constitution, and that the Office of the President's decree attempting to nullify the reshuffle contravened those constitutional clauses. Additionally, Ahmed asserted that the ensuing motion of no confidence was motivated by displeasure over the transfer of one particular Cabinet minister to another portfolio. He also suggested that the motion was regarded by most legislators and the general public as having been driven by graft, that the attempts to table it bypassed the rules and procedures of the parliament, and that it ultimately was an obstacle toward fulfilling the goals enshrined in Vision 2016. Ahmed also commended lawmakers for countering the motion, and applauded the House of the People's leadership for acknowledging that the motion was an impediment on the legislature's functions and instead calling for reconciliatory dialogue to resolve the impasse.[85]

On 4 December, a League of Arab States delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister of Kuwait Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah held a meeting in Mogadishu with the federal government leaders, wherein they discussed the parliamentary motion and Arab League affairs.[86] On 6 December, the Federal Parliament again convened to hold the vote of confidence. 153 of the present MPs voted in favor of the motion, 80 voted against it, and 2 abstained, thereby ending Ahmed's term as Prime Minister of Somalia.[87]

On 17 December 2014, President Mohamud appointed former Premier Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke as the new Prime Minister.[88]

Somali language regulation[edit]

In January 2015, at an event commemorating the 42nd anniversary of the official adoption of the Somali Latin script, Mohamud announced that the Somali language would be used for all government documents at every state office in Somalia. The President indicated that foreign languages would thereafter be reserved for communication with foreign representatives. He also noted that Somali was part of UNESCO's cross-border languages category, and asserted that no nation achieved significant development without first ensuring the primacy of its native language. Additionally, Mohamud announced several associated initiatives that are slated to be implemented, including a new educational curriculum with Somali as the primary language of instruction, rehabilitation of monuments for fallen heroes, completion of renovations on the National Museum, and finalization of the Regional Somali Language Academy in conjunction with the governments of Djibouti and Ethiopia.[89]

Judicial Service Commission[edit]

In March 2015, Mohamud issued a presidential decree dissolving the extant Judicial Service Commission.[90] The order did not pertain to the Attorney General and Chief Judge of the High Court positions. Additionally, the dissolution letter from the Office of the President indicated that the panel was inconsistent with the Provisional Constitution and the judicial service law. It recommended instead reformation of the Judicial Service Commission in accordance with Article 109 of the national constitution.[91]

Somali Disabled People Council[edit]

In March 2015, Mohamud held a meeting with Somali Disabled People Council (SDPC) representatives in Mogadishu. The officials touched on ways in which the government can assist differently abled individuals, among various other matters. Mohamud therein vowed to earmark a governmental agency for the disabled, which would liaise with other state offices and gather data on the subpopulation. Additionally, he indicated that the government would organize a nationwide conference devoted to the differently abled. SDPC representative Ali Abdullahi Salad in turn applauded Mohamud for his dedication to the disabled cause.[92]

Special Task Force on Remittances[edit]

In April 2015, President Mohamud and Prime Minister Sharmarke in conjunction with the Federal Cabinet officially launched the Special Task Force on Remittances (STFR). The multi-agency initiative is mandated with facilitating the Federal Government of Somalia's new national policy pertaining to the money transfer industry. Its main priority is centered on establishing a comprehensive strategy and a consultative implementation plan for the formalization of the local financial sector. Additionally, the STFR is tasked with helping to foster a business environment and financial infrastructure conducive to growth. It is also empowered to coordinate and speed up the endorsement of financial governance instruments and transparency associated legislation, such as the laws on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism (CFT). In accordance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)'s recommendations, the STFR is in turn slated to oversee the Somali federal government's campaign to ratify various international treaties. The Task Forces' membership is scheduled to be announced shortly, and will be drawn from government institutions, the remittance industry, banks and other key private sector stakeholders.[93]

National Tree Week[edit]

In April 2015, Mohamud officially inaugurated National Tree Week at a ceremony in Mogadishu. He therein planted a tree at the Daljirka-Daahsoon junction as a symbol of the environmental importance of plants. Mohamud also announced that his administration was slated to launch an ecological preservation project as part of the broader national reconstruction process, and noted the centrality of flora in human society and wildlife. Additionally, he encouraged the citizenry to avail itself of the occasion to plant as many trees as possible.[94]

Central Regions State[edit]

In July 2014, the Federal Government of Somalia officially endorsed a new Central Regions State, following a signed agreement in Mogadishu between representatives from the Galmudug and Himan and Heeb regional administrations, as well as Ahlu Sunna Waljama'a. The formalization ceremony for the new federal state was held at the Villa Somalia presidential compound and was presided over by President Mohamud and Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed, with UN, EU, AU, IGAD and AMISOM envoys also in attendance. According to the Prime Minister's office, the Federal Government appointed a ministerial committee to guide the formation of the new state. It also organized a number of consultative meetings with the regional representatives, with each party eventually agreeing to establish a new administration in the Mudug and Galguduud regions. Additionally, the Central Regions State will be subject to the Provisional Federal Constitution.[95][96]

On 16 April 2015, following consultative talks with local stakeholders, President Mohamud officially launched the Central State formation conference in Adado. The summit was attended by Federal Cabinet ministers and MPs, state formation technical committee Chairperson Halima Ismael, UN Special Envoy to Somalia Ambassador Nicholas Kay, IGAD Special Ambassador Mohamed Abdi Afey, Ambassador of Turkey Olgen Bakar and Uganda Special Envoy Nathan Mugisha. According to Mohamud, traditional leaders are now tasked with selecting 510 delegates, who will then elect a new regional president within two weeks.[97]

Foreign policy[edit]

Somalia-United States bilateral cooperation[edit]

President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department (September 2013).

In January 2013, President Mohamud met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other American federal officials in Washington, D.C. to discuss bilateral cooperation. The meeting concluded with an announcement by the U.S. federal authorities that the United States was set to exchange diplomatic notes with the new central government of Somalia, re-establishing official ties with the country for the first time in 20 years. According to U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson, the decision was made in recognition of the significant progress that the Somali authorities had achieved on both the political and war fronts. The move is expected to grant the Somali government access to new sources of development funds from American agencies as well as international bodies like the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, thereby facilitating the ongoing reconstruction process.[98][99]

On 5 May 2015, Mohamud, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, and other senior government officials met with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu.[100] Security in the capital was tightened ahead of the state visit, and roads connecting to the airport were cordoned off.[101] The bilateral meeting was the first ever visit to Somalia by an incumbent US Secretary of State.[102] It served as a symbol of the ameliorated political and security situation in the country.[101] The officials focused on the benchmarks enshrined within Somalia's Vision 2016 political roadmap, as well as cooperation in the security sector.[102] Additionally, Kerry conferred with the presidents of the Puntland, South West State and Jubaland regional states, as well as some government ministers.[103] He also met with civil society leaders and AMISOM representatives.[102] Kerry was likewise expected to commit further assistance toward the local reconstruction and development process.[101]

In recognition of the sociopolitical progress made in Somalia and its return to effective governance, Secretary of State Kerry also announced a preliminary plan to reestablish the US embassy in Mogadishu. He indicated that although there was no set timetable for the premises' relaunch, the US government had immediately begun upgrading its diplomatic representation in the country.[104] President Mohamud and Prime Minister Sharmarke concurrently presented to Kerry the real estate deed for land reserved for the new US embassy compound.[105]

Cotonou Agreement[edit]

In June 2013, attendants at the ministerial meeting of the European Union and over 70 nations in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) approved the Somali government's request to join the Cotonou Agreement. Somalia was immediately granted observer status, with full membership earmarked for 2014. The Cotonou Agreement promotes sustainable development and the reduction and eventual elimination of poverty in ACP member nations. It also aims to integrate ACP countries into the world economy via stronger participation in the drafting of national development strategies, and to advance criminal justice and fight against impunity through the International Criminal Court. President Mohamud welcomed the decision and asserted that the treaty would facilitate the ongoing national reconstruction process, as Somalia would be eligible to receive EU development projects. According to Joe Costello, Ireland's Minister of State for Trade and Development, the endorsement "opens a new chapter in relations between the EU and Somalia and constitutes a visible sign that Somalia has regained its status as a fully-fledged member of the international community."[106][107]

Somalia-UN cooperative agreement[edit]

In February 2014, President Mohamud oversaw the signing of a bilateral agreement between Somalia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdirahman Duale Beyle and UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay, which outlines the terms of future cooperation between the Somali federal government and the United Nations. According to Beyle, the pact came after extensive consultations between both parties, with attorneys also present at the signing. Mohamud commended the agreement for helping to strengthen cooperation between the Somali authorities and the UN.[108]

Somalia-Japan bilateral cooperation[edit]

Map of Presidential trips taken by President Mohamud

In March 2014, President Mohamud and a Somali federal government delegation including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdirahman Duale Beyle, Minister of Planning Said Abdullahi Mohamed and Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction Nadifo Mohamed Osman made a four-day visit to Tokyo, where they met with Ambassador Tatsushi Terada and other senior Japanese government officials. President Mohamud and his delegation also conferred with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss strengthening bilateral relations, and capacity training for Somali livestock and agricultural development professionals. Mohamud likewise met with Emperor Akihito,[109] as well as with leaders of the Nippon Foundation, where they discussed project proposals in the agriculture, fisheries, marine resources and livestock sectors. Following a visit to the Japanese Coast Guard center and the Port of Yokohama, Mohamud requested Japanese assistance in development initiatives earmarked for Somalia's coastline. He also recommended at a gathering before the Japan National Press Club that Japanese investments in education should be refocused towards youth vocational education centres to ensure sustainability.[110] The visit concluded with an announcement by Japanese Prime Minister Abe that his administration would put forth a $40 million funding package for the rehabilitation of Somalia's police forces, relief services, and job creation opportunities. Mohamud commended the Japanese government for intensifying its bilateral support, and suggested that the development initiatives would be centered on vocational training for youth and women, maritime and fisheries training, fisheries and agricultural infrastructure development, and communication and information technology support.[111]

Somalia-EU bilateral cooperation[edit]

In April 2014, a Somali federal government delegation including President Mohamud, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Mohamed Olow Barrow, Minister of Finance Hussein Abdi Halane, and Minister of Planning Said Abdullahi Mohamed met in Brussels with EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki to discuss bilateral relations. The talks were brokered by the Scottish Conservative Euro MP Struan Stevenson, with the aim of securing international funding for reconstruction of Somalia's fishing industry infrastructure. According to Stevenson, the EU's long-term objective is to set up a fisheries partnership agreement with the Somali authorities in order to tap into the country's abundant marine stocks.[112]

In May 2015, Mohamud met with UK Ambassador to Somalia Neil Wigan at his office in Villa Somalia. The officials touched on various matters, among which were bilateral relations, UK development and military support, and the establishment of the boundaries, independent electoral and judicial service commissions in accordance with the Vision 2016 roadmap. Wigan also pledged that his administration would assist in the ongoing reconstruction initiatives in Somalia.[113] Mohamud concurrently met with Ambassador of Sweden to Somalia Mikael Lindvall. The officials likewise discussed the establishment of the various commissions by the Federal Cabinet, military affairs and the Vision 2016 roadmap. Additionally, Lindvall pledged that his administration would support the newly formed commissions.[113]

In May 2015, Mohamud signed an Establishment Agreement in Mogadishu with the EU Head of Delegation in Somalia Michele Cervone d’Urso, which formalizes the EU's presence in the country. The treaty also facilitates the opening of more embassies in the capital by European Union member states. Additionally, the EU announced that it had opened a new EU Delegation office in the city. The decision was reached after considerable improvements in security due to joint counterinsurgency operations by the Somali National Army and AMISOM.[114]

New Deal Compact for Reconstruction and Development[edit]

In November 2014, President Mohamud along with UN Under-Secretary for Political Affairs Jeffrey D. Feltman co-chaired an international conference in Copenhagen on the New Deal Compact for Reconstruction and Development. Representatives from Somalia's Puntland, Jubaland, Galmudug and Southwestern federal states also attended the summit, as well as delegations from over 140 countries. Mohamud indicated therein that the New Deal Compact was a Somali-led initiative, through which the Federal Government of Somalia developed legal frameworks, initiated state and political reform, re-structured key institutions, and established a foundation for allocating international development assistance toward the central authorities' priority areas. Additionally, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Egypt Sameh Shoukry reaffirmed his administration's support for Somalia's social and security sectors, and noted the Egyptian government's various political brokering efforts.[115]

Somalia-Egypt bilateral cooperation[edit]

In December 2014, President Mohamud and a Somali federal government delegation including Foreign Minister Abdirahman Duale Beyle and the acting ministers for Finance, Justice, Interior, and Higher Education traveled to Cairo to confer with the Egyptian authorities. The trip was prompted by an official invitation from the new President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The visiting officials were received at the Cairo International Airport by the Egyptian Minister of Education Mahmoud Mohamed Mahmoud Abo El Nasr and Somalia's Ambassador to Egypt Abdullahi Hassan Mohamud.[116][117] Mohamud subsequently met with the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby. According to Ambassador Hassan, the leaders touched on various matters pertaining to the Federal Government of Somalia, including facilitating development and financial support by other Arab states for the Somalian government's ongoing reconstruction initiatives.[118] Additionally, Mohamud and delegates from both administrations conferred with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar University, Ahmed el-Tayeb. The officials discussed bilateral cooperation in the education, medicine and justice sectors, among others, with the rector emphasizing his preparedness to assist in these fields and urging stronger commitment toward the reconstruction process in Somalia. Mohamud in turn highlighted Al-Azhar's historic Muslim and educational work in Somalia, and underlined the institution's continued potential to provide accurate guidance on Islamic tenets.[119] Mohamud and the other visiting delegates finally held a closed door meeting with President El-Sisi, wherein the officials touched on strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries. The gathering concluded with pledges to collaborate in the economic, educational and military sectors, including training of Somali forces by Egyptian security personnel.[116][120]

In March 2015, on the sidelines of the Sharm el-Sheikh investment forum, Mohamud along with the Ambassador of Somalia to Egypt and Arab League officials met again with President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The leaders discussed various bilateral matters, including social and political developments in Somalia as well as the Vision 2016 political roadmap. El-Sisi in turn pledged support for the ongoing reconstruction initiatives in Somalia. The commercial summit was attended by over 20 heads of state and multinational companies.[121]

Convention on the Rights of the Child[edit]

In January 2015, President Mohamud signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child on behalf of the Federal Republic of Somalia at a ceremony in Mogadishu. It is the most widely ratified global human rights treaty, with all but two countries party to it. The signing event was held at the Hamar Jab Jab School in the capital and was attended by various domestic and international officials, including Interim Minister for Information Mustaf Sheikh Ali Dhuhulow, Interim Minister for Women and Human Rights Khadijo Mohamed Diriye, Interim Minister for Agriculture Abdi Mohamed Bafo, Interim Minister for Justice Farah Sheikh Abdulkadir, various federal legislators, UN Special Representative for Somalia Nicholas Kay, and UNICEF Representative for Somalia Steven Lauwerier. The Federal Parliament had already ratified the agreement in December 2014. Following the subsequent signing of the treaty by President Mohamud, the Federal Government is now slated to formulate and adopt child friendly systems and policies, implement steps geared toward child development, survival, protection and participation, and produce periodic reports on its progress toward that end for the Committee on the Rights of the Child.[122]

Somalia-Turkey bilateral cooperation[edit]

In January 2015, Mohamud and various other senior Somali federal government officials received a large Turkish delegation led by newly elected President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Aden Adde International Airport in Mogadishu. The delegates included various cabinet ministers and entrepreneurs.[123] Mohamud and Erdoğan concurrently inaugurated a number of new Turkish-built development projects in Somalia, including the Digfer Hospital in the capital.[124][125] The new 200-bed Somalia-Turkey Training and Research Hospital was constructed by Turkey's international development body, the Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency (TIKA), in accordance with an earlier Somalia-Turkey bilateral agreement. It has a $135.7 million operating budget, $85.6 million of which is slated to be covered by the Turkish authorities over the next five year. The 13,500 square-meter indoor premises includes 20 incubators, 14 newborn intensive care beds, 12 intensive care beds, 4 operating rooms, and laboratory and radiology units, with general surgery, neurosurgery, plastic surgery, children, maternity, urology, internal medicine, anesthesia, dental and ocular departments. It will be staffed by about 91 Somali and 52 Turkish hospital administrators, head doctors, administrative directors or financial directors, as well as 40 Somali and 5 Turkish security personnel. Around 36 Somali assistants are also scheduled to participate in the facility's annual training program.[126]

Additionally, Mohamud and Erdoğan launched a new terminal at the Aden Adde International Airport.[124] The facility was built by Kozuva, a private Turkish construction firm.[126] Both sides also agreed to formulate a city plan for Mogadishu, with new residences slated for construction. The initial building phase will target 10,000 homes, which Erdoğan suggested would be completed within 12 to 24 months.[127]

Moreover, Foreign Affairs Minister of Somalia Abdirahman Duale Beyle and the Turkish delegates signed a bilateral treaty on new developmental projects that are scheduled to be implemented in Somalia.[128] Among the agreements was a protocol stating that the new Digfer Hospital in Mogadishu would be jointly operated. The accord stipulates that the institution will be funded for its first five years by the Turkish Ministry of Health, which will likewise provide professional specialists. Per the protocol, the hospital will thereafter be fully managed by the Somalian authorities.[126] Further development agreements were signed pertaining to military and security cooperation, police support and coordination, marine transportation, youth and sports projects, and cooperation between Somali National Television and the Turkish National Radio.[124]

Somalia-Palestinian Authority bilateral cooperation[edit]

In March 2015, Mohamud led a Somali federal government delegation to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to take part in a global conference on economic development. The delegates were received by Prime of Egypt Ibrahim Mahlab, other Egyptian officials, and the Ambassador of Somalia to Egypt. The conference was attended by various heads of state, international organizations, and firms interested in investing in Somalia, whom Mohamud was slated to meet with.[129] Mohamud concurrently held talks with President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas. The two leaders discussed various bilateral matters, among which were strengthening ties between both territories, Arab League affairs, the reconstruction process in Somalia, Middle East politics, and the security sector. Mohamud also reaffirmed Somalia's continued support for the Palestinian Authority. Abbas in turn provided a briefing of the situation in Palestinian territory.[130]

26th Arab League summit[edit]

In March 2015, Mohamud led a federal government of Somalia delegation to Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt to attend the 26th Arab League summit.[131] He was accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdisalam Omer, with the delegates received at the local airport by President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Arab league representatives. The Somali government had a few hours earlier expressed support for the Saudi Arabia-led military intervention in Yemen against the Houthi rebels. In response to a call from President of Yemen Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi for cooperation in stabilizing the situation, Mohamud also reaffirmed Somalia's support for the legitimacy of the incumbent Yemeni government and its anti-terrorist efforts. The Somali government also reportedly permitted Saudi air forces to use its airspace for the counter-insurgency effort in Yemen, and offered to share its stabilization-related experience with the coalition forces.[132]

Additionally, Mohamud held talks with a number of other Arab League leaders, including President El Sisi and King Abdullah II of Jordan. Mohamud briefed El Sisi on the socio-political situation in Somalia, and emphasized that all of the nation's territory was under government control. Sisi in turn reiterated his administration's support for the Somali authorities' peace and security initiatives. Additionally, Mohamud and King Abdullah II touched on bilateral ties and the security sector, with the Jordanian leader stressing the importance of a collaborative and comprehensive approach against extremist and terrorist groups.[131]

Somalia-Jordan bilateral cooperation[edit]

In April 2015, Mohamud met in Aqaba with King Abdullah II of Jordan to discuss bilateral ties. The meeting focused on the security sector, particularly cooperation within the framework of counterterrorism operations.[133] The leaders also touched on implementing Arab League resolutions, as well as regional developments.[134]

Somalia-Qatar bilateral cooperation[edit]

In May 2015, President Mohamud, Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke and Foreign Affairs Minister Abdisalam Omer met in Villa Somalia in Mogadishu with a visiting Qatari government delegation led by the Foreign Affairs Minister of Qatar, Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah. The officials touched on various bilateral matters, including the security and educational sectors as well as the Houthi insurgency in Yemen. Additionally, Al Attiyah reaffirmed his administration's support for the Somali government's reconstruction efforts. He also indicated that Qatari government would invest in Somalia given the nation's natural resources and other investment opportunities. Omer in turn commended the Qatari leadership for its support of security and stabilization initiatives in Somalia.[135][136]

Honours[edit]

In April 2013, Mohamud was named to the Time 100, TIME magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. His efforts at advancing national reconciliation, anti-corruption measures, and socio-economic and security sector reforms in Somalia were cited as reasons for the selection.[2]

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External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mohamed Osman Jawari
Acting
President of Somalia
2012–present
Incumbent