Thursday, May 24, 2018
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President Farmaajo’s Election: A Truly Defining Moment for All Somalis

By Mohamed Olad

Mark the day! Feb 8 will go down in history as the day that the Somali nation was re-born. It will be known as the day that Somali people’s aspiration for truly honest leaders that care about their welfare held the mantles of power regardless..

President Mohamed Abdulahi Farmaajo’s election is an epitome of the fact that the Somali people are willing and capable of change. They are also longing for reclaiming their lost dignity and glory. It is a victory day for the Somali people; this is for the Somali people. The streets of Mogadishu and Eastleigh, a Nairobi neighborhood has erupted in celebrations. And everybody is allowed to brag little bit about it though, and I will not be the exception here.

Civilians celebrate the election of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed in the streets of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, February 9, 2017. REUTERS/Feisal Omar

President Farmaajo’s election ushered a new era in Somali politics and public discourse. A true outsider and iconic leader with a popular mandate that far-exceeded that of any one who tried to run for office by far, has trail-blazed to Villa Somalia. If the election of Aden Cade, the first democratically elected Somali President almost sixty years ago was the equivalent of that of Gen George Washington, imagine the election of Abraham Lincoln right in the midst of the American Civil War rather than it’s onset to truly feel how transformative and surreal is the election of President Farmaajo’s for a Somali.

Farmaajo has got something of a rare for a Somali Politician­­­­­‑‑being popular. He has an unparalleled credibility and support in the eye of the ordinary Somali that no other politician was able to master, ever.

But what is so ironic in historic proportions is the fact that he was a product of a flawed process that was so rife with   bribery and voter intermediation in what a local anti-corruption watchdog, Marqaati, dubbed as the most expensive political corruption in the history of the nation. It was for that reason that everybody, even the well intentioned, has written off his candidacy as that of a symbolic one. Though it was an unsurmountable victory, it will be a disservice not to acknowledge all those parliamentarians who finally acted on their conscious and channeled the voice of the Somali people.

It is almost surreal that he pulled off what would clearly be the most exhilarating electoral upset in the history of Somalia. After all, according to the New York Times, it was a victory, nonetheless a victory, by the ‘least corrupt most most-well-liked candidate. Go figure!’

Mohamed Abdulahi Farmaajo has the mandate and the backing to chart a new direction towards a more unified and prosperous nation. It is a new bright day where the sun has shined again on the Somali Peninsula.

I was always captivated by the resilience, originality and the perseverance of the Somali people against all odds both natural and the human-made. They persevered in the face of endless famine, adverse climate, against war and dislocation, against myriad of colonial and imperialist expansions and now, a cruel terrorist insurgent. I don’t know if any other people persevered against this quadruple-double whammy for such a long time while maintaining some sort of normalcy and insanity the whole time.

President Farmaajo’s is the embodiment of this relentless legendry struggle by the Somali people to reclaim their lost glory and standing amongst the community of nations.

This time, it is different than the four and half million years ago, or so it seemed, when Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected and everybody thought he was the outsider savior that we have been waiting all along. This time, this President is different. There are so many ways to prove that there are mysterious ways to realize that there is a higher power, surely this one is among them. After all it is the Somali parliament; the most loathed institution of all-time that gave this gift to the Somali people.

One fun fact; the nickname ‘Farmaajo’ is the Somali incarnation of farmaggio, Italian for Cheese, whose father ‘acquired’ a taste for during the colonial period. As it turns out, everybody loves Cheese! And Somalis can wait to have their cut.

Mohamed Olad
Mr. Olad  is the Managing Editor of He was a former Academic Staff and Faculty Fellow at Jig-Jiga University. He can be reached at

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