Mogadishu (UM) – President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo successfully concluded the reconciliation conference last night in Dhuusamareeb, the regional capital of Galmudug state. The 10 day event brought together key stakeholders in Galmnudug State of Somalia to reconcile on past event and to move the regions peace, security and politics forward. The main news is not that there was reconciliation in Galmudug but that the President took the bold step of attending and closing the event. In the past President Farmajo stayed away from such events and left them to the Prime Minister to deal with which did not always bring the best results. Now he has finally realized that it is his job, not the Prime Ministers, to unite the country because he is its leader. The Somali Prime Minister has made efforts in Galmudug but the real results will only come through when the people of Galmudug see the same level of commitment and support for their reconciliation from their President. Last night it was obvious they did at the closing ceremony of the event and the president must continue to be presidential and lead on all national reconciliation and political settlement processes and activities.
The scars of war and mistrust is everywhere in Somalia. This is not going to go away quickly because the Somali people committed atrocities against each other that others everywhere else in modern world will be shocked by. Neighbours killed each other, communities divided along clan lines and lives and private property were taken by force. Now, there is false jihadi inspired criminality by terrorists and this can only be dealt with through Somali unity. The Somali people have an elected president who still has strong political capital and good will from his people. The fact that he is not always in the limelight and involved in every dispute like his Prime Minister is also an advantage which makes him more appealing as a peacemaker than his Prime Minister. Dhusamareeb should highlight to President Farmajo that he must be more presidential, unifying and engaged with his people’s lives. The Somali people want to help their president build a strong, fair and inclusive government but he must work with them to do this.
Becoming more presidential is easy for president Farmajo because he is the elected president. He also has political capital and is still widely respected by international partners. He just needs to get out of Villa Somalia more and engage with his people and hold his government officials to account more. Achieving statebuilding goals, inclusive politics, better security and debt relief needs a Presidential President with real presence in the hearts and minds of his people and international partners.