Ex-president conciliatory, urges genuine Somaliland talks in 1st public address

The former president pitched a case for change of course in Somali politics in his speech as the chairman of Union for Peace and Development party launched today in Mogadishu

UPD chairman and former President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud said time had come to change course in Somali politics. Photo: Goobjoog News

Former president and Union for Peace and Development Hassan Sheikh Mohamud in his first public address today since leaving office last February struck a reconciliatory and forward looking tone calling for a change of course in Somali politics.

Speaking during the launch of UPD party in Mogadishu today, Mohamud said it was time to change the mentality of post war countries which he noted was based on hero worship.

“In post war countries, people have a particular view. The hero of yesterday is today’s villain and today’s villain is yesterday’s hero,” said Mohamud. “I have chosen to take a different world view; I have chosen to only take the good things of yesterday.”

President Mohamud lost to his successor President Mohamed Farmaajo in a tightly contested poll February 8, 2017.

In a similar note, Mohamud who was elected interim chair of the Union for Peace and Development party last week weighed in on the Somaliland question noting that acknowledging the concerns of the break-away region was the first step to genuinely finding a lasting solution.

I have chosen to only take the good things of yesterday-Mohamud

Noting that Somaliland unilaterally agreed to join hands with the south to form one republic in 1960, Mohamud said it was time to make a return journey to Somaliland for any meaningful solution to be found.

“Our brothers in the North (Somaliland) as have many people said here, brought unity in 1960, and therefor they must be acknowledged for their good deeds,” said Mohamud. “The circumstances have now changed. Those brothers are not any longer with us and they have genuine grievances.”

Their grievances, Mohamud said were in the name of the country and we have violated that name. “We have to acknowledge what happened and it is our time to go there and take that unity, brotherhood and governance.”

RELATED COVERAGE: PICTURES: Union for Peace and Development party launched in Mogadishu

Somaliland broke away and charted its own course in 1991 following the collapse of the central government in Mogadishu and has since pursued recognition as an independent state.

The UPD has previously indicated that the Somaliland question forms the core of its manifesto and that they would strongly pursue genuine talks.

President Farmaajo’s administrations’ attempts to restart the talks did not materialize last year after Hargeisa protested Mogadishu’s move to declare unconstitutional the Berbera port deal with UAE.

GOOD EXAMPLES

On elections and governance, the UPD leader said Somaliland and Puntland provided good lessons which can be built on especially as the country prepares for general elections in 2020.

“Somaliland is a case study which has successfully experimented on elections and devolution of governance. We can also draw examples from Puntland on peace and stability.”

Somaliland conducted one person one vote presidential elections last November handing mandate to Kulmiye party’s Muse Bihi Abdi. Meanwhile Puntland is heading to presidential polls in January.

The launch of UPD today adds to an increasing number of political parties in the country as the country gradually transitions from clan based political selection to multiparty elections. So far more than 20 parties have been registered by the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC).

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