Ethiopia's PM Abiy Ahmed congratulates new Somalia's president
ADDIS ABABA - In an interesting twist of affairs, Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed endorsed the newly elected Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who emerged the winner of a fiercely contested presidential race.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who served as Somalia's 8th president, bounced back after defeating incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, who has been in power for the last five years. He garnered 214 votes to Farmajo's 110 votes.
In Somalia, Lower House members and senators are entrusted to elect the president of the country owing to the fact that they are representatives of the people. Already, Farmajo has conceded defeat and backed the new leader.
But on the regional block, it's Abiy Ahmed, a close ally of Farmajo, who was the first to endorse Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, adding that Ethiopia will closely work with the new administration to ensure a number of issues are closet worked on.
"I would like to congratulate former President Hassan Mohamud on being re-elected as the President of the Federal Republic of Somalia. I look forward to working closely with you on common bilateral and regional interests," noted Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
For months, Ethiopia has been accused of working with Farmajo, including even dispatching Ethiopia National Defense Forces [ENDF] to crack a whip on the opposition. The Ethiopian troops are believed to have participated in a crackdown against former Al-Shabaab deputy leader Mukhtar Robow.
The 2018 incident left at least 11 people dead and to date, Ethiopia has never apologized. Also, in Jubaland, Ethiopia is also linked to the plot to ouster local leader Ahmed Islam Mohamed Madobe, a fierce critic of outgoing President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.
In Ethiopia, Somalia troops training in Eritrea are also linked by the UN to the massacre committed within the Tigray region of the country. Mogadishu, however, has vehemently denied the allegations.
Other foreign missions have also backed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, with the United Kingdom leading the pact. The UK now says it will closely work with the newly elected leader to effectively deal with the Al-Shabaab menace.
"Congratulations to Hassan Mohamud on being elected President of Somalia. The UK looks forward to continuing its close work to support Somalia on building stability, tackling Al-Shabaab and supporting those affected by the devastating drought," added Vicky Ford, UK minister for Africa.
Kate Foster, the UK ambassador in Somalia added: "Incredible effort by the Parliamentary Election Commission and the leadership of both Houses, and their teams to deliver the conclusion of elections."
Mohamud inherits a badly divided nation with immediate challenges such as the Al-Shabaab menace, drought, and resurgence of clan militia among other vices which are detrimental to the growth of the country and sustainability. However, he has full backing from members of the international community.
"Somalia's democracy is fragile, limited, and has its many flaws. Yet, a robust tradition of revolt against authoritarian leadership, open and transparent vote, smooth power handover - all reflect a strong civic commitment to democracy, " notes Rashid Abdi, an analyst on Horn of Africa affairs.