EDITORIAL: Somalia at a turning point
Somalia has had multiple elections over the last few decades, with a new president coming into office each time an election was held.
In fact, no Somalia president has served a second term since peace talks, mostly held in Kenya, paved the way for the creation of a government based in Mogadishu.
Seen in that light, the election that was held on Wednesday, after repeated postponements, was not an especially remarkable development.
However, the fact that the poll was conducted in a hangar in the heavily fortified airport shows how fragile the security environment in that country is.
Still, the remarkable eruption of joy that has greeted the election of the new president, Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo”, should offer hope that a turning point may have been arrived at in the troubled country.
‘Farmajo’ is viewed as a reformist who can help to turn around what remains the world’s most chronically failed state.
The promises he made on the campaign trail, including his pledge to boost the capacity of local security forces to reduce reliance on foreign troops, deserve the support of all friends of Somalia.
The new president faces formidable challenges including the need to manage the expectations placed upon him by his supporters. He must also handle many delicate tasks including balancing the needs of feuding elites from various clans and confronting entrenched cartels.
The region, though, should work to aid the new leader of Somalia because stability in that country benefits everyone.