Even as Presidential elections in the Federal Republic of Somalia were postponed for the third time, one of the Presidential candidates Tuesday launched his policy paper in Nairobi.
The event, bringing together select Nairobi based members of the diplomatic corps; the business community with interest in Somalia, local politicians and representatives of the Kenyan Somali community was also a forum to look at where Somalia as a country has come from and where it is headed.
Therefore, ensuring national cohesion, forgiveness and healing, building a secure and stable Somalia were some of the issues that came to fore at the launch as most of those that spoke emphasized the need for leaders to cultivate a cohesive and peaceful society.
Addressing the gathering Mr Said Abdulahhi Mohammed, a former Minister, who is battling his boss at the election, said his experience as Minister for Planning and International cooperation and also a Member of Parliament has prepared him to improve the lives of the people of Somalia.
Mr. Mohammed commonly known as Deni is an experienced civil servant who has worked and held senior positions in various capacities, including diplomatic postings, who seeks to ensure cohesion amongst the warring clans in the war torn country.
His campaigners describe him as a Member of Parliament and Minister for International Cooperation who played a crucial role in brokering peace in Somalia and advocating for unity, reconciliation and national integration.
‘We decided to launch this policy paper in Nairobi because it is the hub of diplomatic and economic relations in East Africa’ says Mohammed ‘That is why I came here so that the International Community can understand that we’re keen on working together even more for a peaceful Somalia’.
Mohammed says he grew up in Somalia, schooled from Primary school to university in a country that offered free education.
But after the fall of the Central government in 1991, what was once a fairly stable country turned into a den of warring clans where insecurity thrives as terrorist cells take advantage of the instability to spread their atrocities in the region.
‘My candidacy is therefore first and foremost focused on finding a permanent solution to insecurity, forgiveness and national healing for we cannot live in the past’ He says ‘I promise to pursue this and I am ready to serve’.
This launch however was held a day after the country’s Electoral Commission for the third time postponed the elections.
Omar Mohamed Abdulle, head of Somalia’s electoral body, said elections slated for Wednesday will not happen as planned. Abdulle did not offer a new date, but said the next president will be elected before the end of this year.
Somalia’s Members of Parliament will elect the new president. However, parliamentary elections to elect new lawmakers have not been completed in all regions of the country.
Somalia is using a limited voting system in which about 14,000 delegates representing Somalia’s clans are casting their votes for the 275-member Lower House, while regional parliaments are electing the 54-member Upper House.
Incumbent President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud is among dozens of candidates vying for the post of president, which will be determined by the new lawmakers.