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Streets of Mogadishu bursting with optimism, hope after historic election
Wednesday February 8, 2017
Mogadishu (HOL) - Thousands of residents lined the streets of Somalia’s capital Mogadishu and lit up its skies with celebratory gunfire on Wednesday evening, rejoicing in Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo’s historic rise to the Presidency.
President Farmajo, the former Prime Minister, was propelled into Somalia’s highest high office after a sweeping victory at Mogadishu’s airport. Millions of Somali's watched the nationally televised election. After the second round of voting, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud made his humble exit and received a roaring ovation from Parliamentarians. Within minutes of official announcement, thousands of supporters took to the streets as soldiers saluted their president with volleys of gunfire.
“Farmajo will change Somalia” Yusuf Ahmed, 10, told us as he gathered with his friends “We are celebrating because we won.” The constant passing military vehicles zipping through the busy roundabout, shooting as they drive, did not seem to phase him. We spoke to dozens of people on the streets who shared similar sentiments.
In Beled Weyne, Kismayo and other parts of Somalia, a similar tune was sung as residents, worn and exasperated over broken promises from past governments welcomed a leader who enjoyed broad support from different regions Somalia.
Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo was controversially sacked by former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed from his role as Prime Minister in 2011. Even then, residents took to the streets contesting the government's decision to remove him. President Farmajo is widely lauded for his consistency in paying soldiers their monthly stipend on time making it a focus of his cabinet when he was in office.Today, nearly six years later he's back in Somalia politics in a decisive victory over his old boss.
The feeling of optimism is contagious in the streets of Mogadishu, the celebratory gunfire still continues into Tuesday morning with no signs of it subsiding. As one resident told us "tonight, we celebrate, tomorrow we will begin the work."
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