By Abdirahman Dhuxul

(Opinion) — 8th February 2017, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was elected as 9th president of the federal republic of Somalia. Thousands of Somalis across the world from Somalia, Kenya’s NFD & Ethiopia’s Somali region quickly took to the streets to celebrate President Farmajo’s victory. The Somali people were yearning for a clean break with past malfeasance and a visible improvement in transparency, accountability, and good governance.

President Farmajo was seen as a Somali nationalist, and his chances of winning increased after Somalia’s arch-rival, Ethiopia, was seen to be backing the defeated president. Little did we know a few years later that we will be in a far worse condition.

Contrary to his manifestos of improved security, political stability, the revival of the economy & the war against corruption under president Farmajo Somalia is plagued by a double whammy of unbridled corruption, lack security, dictatorship, unconstitutional & well-organized propaganda ecosystem.


President Farmajo is a dictator recycled & cleverly packaged as a nationalist. He is an existential danger to Somalia, deliberately sabotaging the electoral process to ensure his stay in power. He’s stoking nationalism as a way of destroying the agreed-upon federal power structure, a dangerous path to go down in a country where a civil war lasted for decades, leading to it being declared a ‘failed state’. Through the better part of his term, president Farmajo waged wars against the country’s independent media, political opposition, and the federal member states. He replaced three federal state leaders with his allies to control the federal state electoral board while setting his eyes on the region of Gedo, which is part of the Jubaland state, to delegitimize its leader, Ahmed Madoobe, who he sees as a threat to his reelection. In his bid to stay in power, President Farmajo forced a unilateral, unlawful term extension scapegoating on universal suffrage afterward. President Farmajo’s Administration has been deliberately reluctant in furthering the discourse on the electoral process for the better part of his term. This reluctance has in one way or the other crippled the efforts, chances, and possibility of universal suffrage.


There is a large correlation between elections and the stability of the state. In April, the president extended his mandate by two years, chaos hit the streets of the capital city. Residences have been pushed to seek refugees outside of the city, worrying about their lives, when a bottle fight broke out between the government and pro-government forces were loyal to the opposition. More than 1000 people were displaced from their homes.

In 2020, instead of using the Somalia National Army (SNA) and security funds to combat al-Shabaab, Farmaajo chose to attack Gedo for personal interest. US condemned the deployment of SNA troops to Gedo. Rodney Hunter, the Political Coordinator, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, said: “The deployment of SNA troops to a politically motivated offensive in the Gedo region of Jubaland is unacceptable and diverts resources from the agreed roadmap for security operations.”

According to Human Right Watch “In December 2018, during the run-up to regional presidential elections in Baidoa, Ethiopian force arrested Mukhtar Robow, a former Al-Shabaab leader who ran for the regional presidency, sparking protests. Security forces, notably police forces, responded with lethal force, killing at least 15 protesters and injuring many others between December 13 and 15, according to the UN. Amnesty International documented the killing of a member of parliament and a child on December 14. Dozens were arbitrarily arrested, reportedly including children.”


Several reports have pointed out the glaring level of corruption in Farmajo’s administration. The Auditor-General report of 2020 indicated a qualified opinion. This report goes further and provided the basis of this qualified opinion to include the non-accountability of grants. The public procurement system of Somalia is one conduit that corruption is propagated. Government officials who are close allies of Farmajo secretly allocate themselves with public tenders without proper evaluation. Although the Financial Governance Committee was put in place to control corruption in public procurement, its success stories remain undocumented.

The Central Bank of Somalia is a State agency that was established to among other things provide banking services to the government of Somalia. However, this institution lacks complete independence due to a high level of political interference. This provides a good opportunity for government officials who are Farmajo’s allies to divert government money held in oversee accounts secretly. The 2019 report of corruption by Transparency International ranked Somalia at position 9 out of 180 in terms of corruption perceptions.


In a nutshell, the re-election of Farmajo will be the worst thing for Somalia, a country that is striving to recover from a decade of civil war occasioned by Barre’s dictatorial regime. The re-lection of Farmajo is like taking back Somalia to the early 1990s replicating the dictatorial regime of Barre. Somali’s have a noble democratic obligation of making the right decision as far as Farmajo’s re-election is concerned.
The international partners including the United States (US) should come together for the rescue of Somalia. The human rights agencies, non-governmental organizations, and activists should be vocal and educate the masses in Somalia on the need to make informed democratic decisions that will bring peace and economic stability to Somalia. Farmajo’s re-election would be equivalent to acceptance of corruption as virtue as opposed to a vice. Therefore, Somalis should make a wise decision by re-electing a leader who will serve their interests by dealing with the widespread corruption in the government.

By Abdirahman Dhuxul