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UN, AU mourn the death of former Somalia's Prime Minister

By Staff reporter , Garowe Online

MOGADISHU, Somalia - As a show of solidarity with the people of Somalia, the United Nations and the African Union Mission in Somalia have mourned former Somali Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah who died on Saturday in Turkey after a long illness.

Farah, 77, served as Prime Minister from 2001-2004 when the Horn of Africa nation was trying to reconcile with its internal troubles, including the inter-clan conflicts and persistent political wrangles. The Transition Government was crafted in Djibouti.

In a statement, the United Nations, which is one of the major development and security partner of Somalia, condoled with the family of the former leader, besides paying tributes to his significant contributions towards rallying for peace and stability in Somalia.

"The UN in Somalia expresses its condolences on the passing of former Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah to all Somalis, and especially his family and friends. He served his country in the Transitional Federal Government in 2001-2003, and was also a former mayor of Mogadishu," the UN said in a tweet.

The United Nations has been pushing for peace and unity in Somalia for decades now. It funds many activities ranging from education, infrastructure, mitigation of calamities, and payment for security forces from foreign countries working in the war-torn nation.

Through Ambassador Fransisco Madeira, the African Union also mourned the former PM, terming him a "performer" following his track record in various departments he served before holding the second senior-most post in the republic of Somalia

“Today, we join the people of Somalia in mourning the passing of the former Prime Minister, Hassan Abshir Farah. The death of the former Prime Minister is an immense loss to the people of Somalia. Farah had a wealth of experience and an impressive record of dedicated service to the country," Madeira said.

"Over a remarkable career, he served his country as Mayor of Mogadishu, Minister of Fisheries, Prime Minister, and as a Member of Parliament. His work to improve the lives of the Somali people shall not be forgotten. On behalf of AMISOM, I offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, the government, and the people of Somalia at this moment of sorrow and despondency. May the Almighty Allah rest his soul in peace."

According to his relatives, the former PM, 77, had been ailing for years in the Turkish capital before he made a final bow on Saturday. The family described him as "an industrious man who put the lives of Somalis ahead of everything he did", adding that "he will be greatly missed".

Before serving as PM, Farah served as Mogadishu mayor during the reigns of dictator Siad Barre, who was toppled in 1991. He also served as minister for interior in Puntland, one of the first federal states of Somalia, which was established in 1998 after years of turmoil.

As a nationalist, Farah helped former President Abdullakim Salad Hassan to push for national reconciliation before their exit in 2004. He would later serve as a federal MP before leaving Somalia for Turkey, one of Somalia's most trusted partners at the global stage.

He has been leading a quiet life after exiting active politics but he's said to have been among the statesmen who persuaded Turkey to increase its support to the Horn of Africa nation, which has failed to form a stable and functional government since the ouster of Siad Barre.

The UN and AU are determined to have the country united but the efforts have often been derailed by unending political wrangles and the Al-Shabaab menace. The country has never had a democratically elected government since 1969 when the military took over.

Currently, political leaders are embroiled in a tough pre-election political crisis which was triggered by the quest to hold timely elections in Somalia. The model for elections has been one of the most disputed issues and has forced regional leaders to convene in Dhusamareb where they are trying to strike a deal.