The bureaucrat from Buffalo who pushed Somalia to the brink of the abyss

Nairobi | Times Of Sudan

During his years as a Department of Transportation official in upstate New York, the Somali refugee-turned-American took lessons in political science, imbued with the democratic values ​​he hoped to someday export to his homeland.

This dream was fulfilled for Muhammad Abdullah Farmajo, in 2017, when he returned to Somalia and was elected president. A surprising victory that showed high hopes that it might repair – and even transform – his dysfunctional country that has been exhausted by war.

Mr. Mohamed at New York's Department of Transportation in 2011
Mr. Mohamed at New York’s Department of Transportation in 2011

But those aspirations have collapsed since Farmajo failed to hold elections when his four-year term expired in February, then moved to extend his rule for two years – a move many Somalis saw as an outright seizure of power.

An angry political conflict turned violent on Sunday, when a series of battles erupted between rival military factions in the capital, Mogadishu, raising fears that Somalia, after years of modest but gradual progress, could descend into a kind of clan bloodshed that has been torn apart. In the nineties.

Now Farmajo’s credentials, democracy is in tatters and he’s in open confrontation with his former ally, the United States, where he still has a family home.

Foreign Minister Anthony J. Blinken, publicly sanctioning Farmajo, and other Somali officials, and US officials this week repeated their calls for Somalia to hold elections immediately.


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