President Mohamed Farmaajo has blamed Somalia’s slow recovery on ‘term limits’ noting that neighbouring Djibouti had progressed because President Ismael Geele’s ‘long stay’ in power had enabled him to complete several projects.
Speaking during the opening of Djibouti embassy Sunday alongside Geele, Farmaajo said Somalia has had five presidents and 13 Prime Ministers since the Djiboutian leader came to power in 1999.
“During these years we have been changing our political contests but Ismail Gelle is still there and has completed the project that he has started, on that it’s a great lesson for us to learn the history of the political stability of his country,” said Farmaajo.
“It is true that since Omar Gelle started his government, we have now had five presidents and 13 prime ministers. He has built four ports and spent about $ 1billion and we are still in the process of learning politics.”
Geele took over power from his uncle President Hassan Gouled Aptidon who stepped down in 1999 and went ahead to win a second term in 2005 when the only challenger withdrew citing suppression of the media and opposition. The 73 year old leader would later muscle parliament to strike off the two term limit in 2011 paving the way for another third six year term.
Term limits drumbeats have been echoing in the region with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo Brazzaville amending their constitutions to allow the current leaders to continue their stay in power.
Somalia remains one of the countries in the region which has always sent home presidents after one term. The Provisional Constitution sets a four year period of two terms for a president.