In Summary
  • A graduate of law from a Libyan university, Ahmed was a teacher before plunging into Somalia’s civil war, and later politics.
  • Al-Shabaab raids seem to have galvanised his desire to get back the seat he left in 2012, after leading the transitional federal government from 2009.
  • Whether a coalition can hack it in a Somalia that has for the last 15 years been run on clan politics will be a test.
  • But the greater question is whether an election will be held, and if it will be one-man, one-vote.

Somalia’s ex-President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed was an accidental politician. Now he wants to become the first man in the country to be re-elected.

A graduate of law from a Libyan university, Ahmed was a teacher before plunging into Somalia’s civil war, and later politics.

Many consider him the father of Somalia’s modern history after his role in moving the transitional state to a federal government.

Yet he is a bitter critic of the current government.

“Authorities have failed to establish a security plan to deal with deadly attacks in Mogadishu,” he told the Nation through a spokesman.

“The government should accept its failures in protecting citizens from Al-Shabaab,” he added, referring to car bombs last month, one of which killed 85 people.

POLITICAL PARTIES

The raids seem to have galvanised his desire to get back the seat he left in 2012, after leading the transitional federal government from 2009.

In 2019, he mobilised six political outfits to form the Forum for National Parties (FNP), becoming the first coalition in independent Somalia.

FNP includes his party Himilo Qaran, Ilays and the Union for Peace and Development led by ex-president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Others are the Progressive Party led by former ministers Sharif Hassan and Abdiweli Haas; Peace Party, chaired by former Jubbaland president Mohamed Abdi Gandhi; and Kulan Party, under Mohamed Siriin.

“Having strong political parties is the best way forward,” he said.

“Somali people need to be empowered to govern and defend themselves from Al-Shabaab.”

CHALLENGES

Whether a coalition can hack it in a Somalia that has for the last 15 years been run on clan politics will be a test. But the greater question is whether an election will be held, and if it will be one-man, one-vote.

And there are challenges. Somalia needed to pass a new constitution, register voters and plan for a countrywide poll when federal states are pulling in opposite directions.

But the biggest is the Shabaab. In the past one year, the group has detonated car bombs almost every week, killing and maiming thousands.

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