SOMALIA: New Somali president says his government to focus on security
Text of inaugural speech of Somali President Hasan Shaykh Mahmud on state-owned Somali National TV on 16 September
In the name of Allah. Thanks be to Allah and peace and blessings be upon the messenger of God. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
The former president of the federal republic of Somalia, Shaykh Sharif Shaykh Ahmad, the Speaker of parliament, Hon Muhammad Shaykh Usman Jawari, his deputies, the prime minister of Somalia, Hon Prof Abdiweli Muhammad Ali Gas, the president of Djibouti, Hon Ismael Umar Guelleh, the [acting] Ethiopian prime minister, Hon Hailemariam [Desalegn], the Turkish deputy prime minister, the Ugandan deputy prime minister, Moses Ali, the adviser of Sudan’s president, Hon Nafi Ali Nafi, the Qatari state minister for foreign affairs, the chairman of the African Union, the Arab League representative for Somalia, Samir Husni, and other honourable guests, may peace be upon you all.
Ladies and gentlemen, as it has been said earlier, today is a historic day for the republic of Somalia. As my brother, the master of ceremony, has said, this is the second time in Somalia’s history such a thing is happening.
On behalf of all Somalis, I want to thank you for attending this historic ceremony. I also want to thank Somalis, who have been through difficult times, and who have persevered and persisted in their quest for ending their problem.
I want to thank the former president, my brother, Sharif Shaykh Ahmad, who I can surely say deserves praise for enabling us to be here today and to witness this historic day. As we all know, the country has been through a difficulty period but president Sharif Shaykh Ahmad has succeeded in persevering and has never tired in his achieving goals despite the challenges. As you can see, he is the cause of this democratic transition of power which is being hailed by the whole world.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my honour that Somalia has turned a historic page which will remain in its history for a long time. Ladies and gentlemen, during our time in power, we pledge to Somalis to build a society that is willing to grasp peace, a society that is at peace with itself, with its neighbours and with the rest of the world.
We pledge to reconstitute Somalia’s political system so that a democratic Somali republic, in which its leaders hand over power like today, comes into place. I want to tell you today that our country needs to stand on its feet again. I will lead with politics founded on well-known pillars, which have named the pillars for new beginning for Somalia.
The first of these pillars is the stabilization of the country. This is to stabilize Somalia so that it has the rules of law any society can have. We want our first, second and third priority to be security. And to create and maintain security, an independent judiciary that is just and which pleases Somalis, is being established.
The second pillar is the revival of the country’s economy. This will then be followed by another stage which is the development of the economy. The revival of the country’s economy depends on the revival of the economy of the Somali family. This is to make sure that food is on the table of the average Somali family. We will work hard to enable Somalis to work for themselves. The Somali government will also create job opportunities as much as it can. We will also create a conducive atmosphere for international companies and agencies to come to the country and create job opportunities for many Somalis. We will also be busy in creating an atmosphere for Somalis to play a role in the development of the country.
The third pillar is pacification and reconciliation. Somalia has gone through more than 20 years of war and statelessness. And before that, there was absence of good governance in the country. This has led to lack of trust in the government. We will do anything that can bring the people together and God willing will avoid anything that can further divide the country. We will create a good atmosphere for our traditional, religious and community leaders to take the flag of peace to all corners of the world and listen to any grieving community so that they could bring about peace.
The fourth pillar is the unification of the country. The re-unification of Somalia was in 1960. That reunification was as a result of people’s love for each other. Unfortunately, that unity was badly damaged 30 years into our independence. The [unity] talks that have started between the government that came before me and the Somaliland administration were a good beginning and they will continue God willing. We will not force others or use military or diplomatic force to bring about unity. We want unity that results from negotiations, mutual respect and mutual agreement. We will work to lay firm foundation for that unity so that our young generations know its importance so that they can protect it.
The fifth pillar is the establishment of good relations between Somalia and the rest of the world. In the history of post-war state-building, no country has been able to rebuild and reconstruct on its own. It was because of the international community’s assistance that post-war countries have been re-built. Somalia is not different from those countries for it needs the world to stand with it. Somalia is only different in one way; it has experienced the longest period of statelessness. So, Somalia has more needs and we are waiting for that assistance. As I have already said, my government will strive to change the attitude of Somalis so that they have new ideas of state-building. We also want the international community, world nations and different agencies to wear different spectacles from the ones that they used to look at Somalia. We are humbly asking the world to provide direct assistance to Somalia without the existence of intermediaries. We can only constitute government institutions when the world is dealing with us directly. It will take a long time to build those institutions if the world uses other channels to deal with us. [section not heard clearly]. These institutions must be nurtured like babies. For that to happen, these government institution must be guided like a baby so that they can be fully operational. I am sure we will be there. We are only asking the international community to help us reach that destination and stand with us directly.
We stand for an end to the pain the Somali citizen is going through, whether it is a security pain, economic pain, or an individual one. We will end that as much as we can. We no longer do not want to hear that Somalis occupy the largest refugee camp in the world. God willing, we want to see an end to the claim that the most feared terrorists come from Somalia. In the near future, we will stand to work to change the attitude of Somalis and the world about Somalia. Next time these leaders and guests visit Somalia, we want it to be at peace with itself, its neighbours and the rest of the world.
I once again thank the countries, the organizations and especially the UN agencies that have stood with Somalia for the last 20 years. They have saved the lives of millions of Somalis and have given hope to millions of Somalis. I want to thank them today. Somalia has stood on its feet and it will continue to do so, God willing. One day, it will be among the community of nations and it will in the future help world’s unfortunate states. Peace be unto you.