The future of Somalia, after the new Presidential elections

The leader of Somalia’s Hirshabelle, Ali Gudlawe, region says dozens of people were killed Wednesday in attacks in the city of Beledweyne, including a member of the Somali parliament. Several more people died when militants opened fire at an airport in Somalia‘s capital. In an address aired by state TV, Hirshabelle region president said authorities have been gathering information since Wednesday night about victims in Beledweyne. He said there are 48 confirmed dead and 108 injured. Separately, two gunmen opened fire at Mogadishu’s main airport on Wednesday, killing at least six people before the gunmen were shot and killed by security guards. As the federal Presidential elections in Somalia reach a long-awaited finish, the challenges increase with the Al Shabab trying to destabilize the nascent democracy.

The (politic) future of the country

After a year of conflict between the current President and Prime Minister on the election process, a strong leadership is required to steer the country to safety. Currently, one in four Somali people faces hunger caused by extreme drought, and the United Nations (UN) projects that 4.6 million Somalis will not have enough food by May 2022 as the horn of Africa faces its worse draught in 40 years. A young Somali population requires a dynamic leader who can set the course for peace and development while business and investment seek security to continue investing in a country ravaged by decades of civil war.

After decades of strife, the world has a negative and hopeless impression of Somalia. Former President Trump went so far to define it a “s@$t hole” country. But the Somali diaspora globally is inspiring and have contributed deeply to their adoptive countries. In end May 2018, 150 migrants welcomed their first morning on Somalia’s soil in, what is for some, years and, others, months. Disembarking an IOM, UN Migration Agency, charter flight from Libya in Mogadishu, was the final haul of a long and hard journey which was supposed to end in Europe.

Among the passengers was Ali Said Faqi, Ambassador for the Somali Government to the European Union (EU), and a major part of the mission to help Somali migrants stranded in Libya return home to their families. While few might have missed the stark media headlines on the abuse African migrants have faced at the hands of smugglers, traffickers and criminal gangs in Libya, Ali is one of the few, who have travelled to the source of these stories.

Who is Ali Faqi

Like most Somali diaspora, who were forced to flee the civil war, he is well acquainted with, what can be for many, the agonising feeling of leaving home. After Ali left Somalia in the 1990’s, he passed through Kenya, Italy and Germany, before finally arriving in the United States in December 1998. He went on to become a prominent scholar in toxicology. His academic resume includes a PhD in toxicology from the University of Leipzig, more than 100 published scientific papers, two text book in toxicology and various impressive academic tenures.

Since 2013, Faqi has swapped a career in research and science to serve his country, first as the Chief of Staff for Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, later as Somalia’s Ambassador to the EU. It was in his role as Ambassador to the EU that he went to Libya to rescue Somali youth trapped there. He was his countries delegate to the horn of africa peace accords. Eventually, he moved to being the speaker of the South West State. In the new Parliament currently being elected, Faqi now is a recently elected member of the lower house representing the South West State.

As Somalia works towards electing a new President it is men like Ali Faqi that will define the future of their country while they vote for a head of state. This current government has many achievements, including the eradication of piracy, but the struggle is long ahead. The achievements have been somewhat marred by the conflict between the President and the Prime Minister in defining the electoral process. “The conflict between Somalia and Alshabab cannot be resolved militarily, it requires political solution. Senseless killings needs to stop before a political agreement can be negotiated.” said Faqi, commenting on the violence in Somalia. While many technocrats have thrown their hat into the ring, including the outgoing President, Faqi hasn’t made any declarations or endorsements yet. He remains a convinced patriot, in the service of Somalia. “A national dialogue addressing the political instability with all its stakeholders is the only way forward to assure a better future for Somalia” he says.