A US-Somalia dual citizenship holder Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo was on Wednesday declared Somalia’s new President.
He was elected by parliament in a very peaceful process held at Mogadishu’s main airport which was heavily guarded by the African Union Mission on Somalia Forces.
Observers have lauded the election to be the most democratic process Somalia had seen in decades.
Former Presidents, senior politicians and many other former envoys were in attendance running for the country’s highest office.
Farmajo was named the new leader after two rounds of voting with incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, his closest challenger, conceding defeat before he quickly took the oath of office.
“History was made, we have taken this path to democracy, and now I want to congratulate Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo,” said Mohamud.
Farmajo’s victory astonishingly extends Somalia’s long tradition of never re-electing an incumbent leader despite all the unstableness and corruption in the country.
Somalia’s new President spoke to parliamentarians after taking the oath of office saying:
”This is a victory for Somalia and the Somalis. This is the beginning of the era of unity, the democracy of Somalia and the beginning of the fight against corruption.”
Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo was born in 1962 in Mogadishu. He worked in the US for the Somali foreign ministry in the 1980s before successfully applying for asylum in 1991 following the collapse of Siad Barre’s government.
He studied history at New York State University at Buffalo before obtaining a masters degree in political science and international relations from the same university.
In October 2010, Farmajo was appointed prime minister under Sheikh Sharif Ahmed’s government. During his tenure which lasted for eight months, he notably slashed the size of the cabinet and was credited with appointing technocrats putting aside clan politics.
Farmajo resigned from his position in 2011 during a power struggle between president Sheikh Sharif Ahmed and the parliament speaker.
He moved back to Buffalo soon afterward taking up a post with the New York State Department of Transportation.