Former President returns to Somalia ahead of elections
MOGADISHU, Somalia - Former Somalia's President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has returned for the first time to Mogadishu in as many months, ahead of much-anticipated elections, which has subjected the capital to a flurry of political activities in recent weeks.
In September, political actors in Somalia and a number of stakeholders signed a pre-election deal which ended political squabbles which had engulfed the country. Stakeholders were embroiled in a pre-election tussle which almost threatened to plunge the country into unprecedented chaos.
The deal paved way for an improved clan-based system for elections after the country failed to hold one-person-one-vote elections as enshrined in the constitution. This had ostensibly led to the sacking of Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, who President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo's administration blamed for the quagmire.
And Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the man who is credited for flushing Al-Shabaab out of the capital, returned to Mogadishu where he expressed confidence in the upcoming elections besides calling for strict adherence to the rule of law throughout and after electioneering period.
“We want this country to be strong and law-abiding," said former Somali president, who is also a candidate in the upcoming elections after returning to the Somali capital Mogadishu. He returned to the busy capital on Wednesday and addressed reporters.
"You all deserve a cool environment and the government ought to embrace peaceful coexistence where everyone gets access to justice and basic human rights," he added. Sharif Sheikh was among the first top politicians to welcome the pre-election deal contrary to expectations from many.
Although the Forum for National Parties, a conglomerate of six opposition parties, is yet to decide who will be the presidential candidate, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed has appeared to be one of the defacto contenders. Also in the team is his successor Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
The two were joined by Khaire, who has also announced his presidential bid. The former PM, who has been holding meetings in Mogadishu, Djibouti and Nairobi, believes that his record in revamping Somalia's economy will enable him to trounce his opponents.