News and Views on Africa from Africa
Last update: 1 July 2022 h. 10:44
Subscribe to our RSS feed
RSS logo

Latest news


New president takes oath of office

Somalia's newly elected President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed took his oath of office on 14 October at a ceremony in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, attended by several African heads of state, diplomats and representatives from international organisations.
IRIN ([This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations])

Yusuf, a career soldier and politician took the oath of office in the
Somali language. He was sworn-in by the speaker of the transitional
federal parliament, Shariff Hassan Sheikh Adan, amid cheering by thousands
of Somalis who turned up for the ceremony held in the auditorium of a
sports stadium.

The Kenya Army band played the Somali national anthem and the Somali flag
was unfurled in the hall as a 21-gun salute boomed outside the auditorium.

Yusuf won Sunday's presidential election and vowed to re-establish
stability in the Horn of Africa country, ravaged by factional warfare
since 1991. Declared winner in the run-off round of the poll, has served
as president of the northeastern self-declared autonomous region of
Puntland since 1998.

He beat his rival, former cabinet minister and diplomat Abdullahi Ahmed
Addow, by 189 to 79 votes cast by members of the transitional-federal
parliament, which was constituted in August. Twenty-four candidates were
either eliminated in the first round or withdrew from the race.

"What we are witnessing today is the victory of all Somali people," said
Kenya's President Mwai Kibaki after Yusuf was sworn-in. "We are delighted
that the people of Somalia have chosen the path of peace."

Kibaki urged the international community to help the people of Somalia in
their efforts to rebuild their country.

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, who is the current chairman of the
Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the regional body that
sponsored the peace process that culminated in the election of the
president, said the organisation would ensure that the peace process

"IGAD will not allow anyone to come in and mess up the peace process,"
said Museveni. "Africa must provide some of the money."

He said Somalia needed "resources and not mere words" from the
international community to complement any aid coming from within the
African continent.

The swearing ceremony was attended by the Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo, who is the current chairman of the Africa Union, Rwandan
President Paul Kagame, his Burundian counterpart Domitien Ndayizeye, the
President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh and President Ali Abdallah Saleh
of Yemen.

Sudan was represented by Vice President Ali Uthman Taha and Ethiopia was
Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin. Also present was Mohammed Sahnoun and a
number of other diplomats.

Somalia ceased to function as a modern state in 1991 when armed groups
overthrew the regime of Muhammad Siyad Barre, precipitating a ruinous
civil war that saw numerous warring warlords and their s carve the
country into fiefdoms.

Many previous attempts to end in Somalia failed. A reconciliation
conference in Djibouti in 2000 led to the appointment of Abdulkassim Salad
Hassan as president, but his administration was only able to exert
authority in some parts of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, and a few
pockets of territory in the south of the country.

The new president is expected to appoint a prime minister, who will form a
cabinet before the new administration can relocate to Mogadishu. The
president and his government have a five-year mandate, after which,
general elections will be held inside Somalia.

The administration in the self-declared republic of Somaliland in the
northwest, which announced its break away from the rest of Somalia
following Barre's overthrow, refused to take part in the two-year
reconciliation conference in Kenya.

The new president was born in 1934 and studied law in the Somali National
University before going to the former Soviet Union and later to Italy for
military studies. He was Somalia’s military attaché to Moscow between 1965
and 1968.

Yusuf, a member of the Darod clan, was one of a group of people who in
1978 tried to oust Barre in a failed coup. Most of the coup plotters were
executed, but Abdullahi Yusuf managed to flee the country. Later that
year, he formed the Somali Salvation Democratic Front, one of the first
armed groups to wage a military campaign against Barre's regime.

Contact the editor by clicking here Editor