Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo was inaugurated as the ninth president of Somalia in a colourful ceremony attended by over 1,200 people including two neighbouring presidents, a prime minister and more than 100 diplomats.
Farmaajo, who was elected on February 8, promised to restore Somalia’s dignity and bring peace and reconciliation to the country.
In a speech punctuated by cheers and clapping, the new president also promised to tackle widespread insecurity, corruption, poverty and the looming humanitarian crisis that is devastating the country.
The new leader outlined his agenda for the next four years in which he will give priority to reconciliation and restoring institutions to give hope to the citizens.
Farmaajo said during his four-year tenure he will try “to accomplish reconciliation among various Somali communities, uphold the rule of law, strengthen the judiciary, restore people’s confidence in government and tackle poverty.”
The Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General, Michael Keating, delivered a goodwill message from the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, and lauded the smooth transfer of power from outgoing President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
“The peaceful handover of power is a milestone in that effort and is a major step in strengthening Somalia as a federal and inclusive state and towards the goal of achieving one-person one-vote elections in 2020,” Keating said.
The new president also thanked the international community for supporting the recently concluded electoral process and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) for securing the process.
“The international community has been very supportive. This was spearheaded by AMISOM troops who secured the locations of the electoral process. We cannot forget the support rendered by the international community who made the electoral process possible,” President Farmaajo stated.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Francisco Madeira, said Somalia had made strides in achieving peace, adding that AMISOM had deterred Al-Shabaab “and allowed for the electoral process to successfully take place in Mogadishu, Baidoa, Adado, Jowhar and Kismaayo without any security incidents that could be attributed to these insurgents.”
The ceremony was also addressed by Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, Djiboutian President, Omar Guelleh; Ethiopian Prime Minister, Desalegn Hailemariam; the Sudan Assistant President, Ibrahim Hamed and the outgoing President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.
Other dignitaries who spoke at the function were the European Union Representative for the Horn of Africa, Alexander Rondos; United States Ambassador to Somalia, Stephen Schwartz; Turkish Representative, Cemalettin Kani Torun; Arab League Envoy, Khalid Ibrahim and Former Somali President, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.