Tuesday May 2, 2023
Mogadishu (HOL) - In a televised question-and-answer session in Mogadishu on Monday, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud discussed his government's accomplishments and addressed various topics, including the war against Al-Shabaab, debt forgiveness, finalizing the constitution, the 2026 election, frontline forces, and Mogadishu's safety and security.
President Hassan Sheikh defended his request for military support from neighbouring countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti in the battle against Al-Shabaab. During the town hall meeting emphasized that the Somali armed forces and the government would guide and make decisions for the operation, with the cooperation of frontline countries limited to 90 days. He confirmed that the second phase of the operation against Al-Shabaab had yet to commence.
"The military offensive's second phase has not yet begun, as we remain in the final stages of the first phase of the operations. Our forces have dealt significant blows to Al-Shabaab in Hirshabelle and Galmudug. The next step of the offensive will shift its focus to the Jubbaland and Southwest regions.
He reported on the success of the first phase of the war against Al-Shabaab and acknowledged the vital role of local clan militias, known as Mawisley, in defeating the insurgents.
Somalia's Al-Shabaab offensive has been hailed as the most significant action against the group in a decade, with the previous administration focusing on foreign policy and rebuilding security forces.
Discussing Mogadishu's security, President Hassan Sheikh emphasized its importance, stating, "When security is ensured, people will be able to choose who they want."
Regarding the 2026 election, President Hassan Sheikh announced plans for one-person, one-vote elections, expressing his determination not to return to the indirect election system. Mohamud was twice elected President through indirect elections, most recently in May 2022.
He addressed concerns about nepotism in his administration, arguing that families of Somalia's leaders have the right to serve in government. He said, "I want to tell the Somali people that your leaders are ordinary citizens whom you have elevated to positions of power. Their family members and children are also citizens. My daughter, son, brother, and nephew did not lose their rights as citizens when I became President." The President's comments came days after social media users circulated unconfirmed reports of his daughter receiving a senior position as a foreign affairs advisor.
Concerning the Las Anod conflict, President Mohamud emphasized his government's commitment to stability in the Sool region and called for peace among his brothers in the North. He also expressed good cooperation between the federal government and Somalia's regional governments, particularly Puntland, stating, "There is no conflict between the federal government and Puntland."
President Mohamud commended the parliament for passing 11 government-submitted bills essential for building public institutions and promoting the country's development in security, economy, and government administration efficiency. He stressed that leaders must collaborate with their citizens to create a stronger, more inclusive, and prosperous Somalia.