Somalia’s new President, elected by lawmakers on Sunday after a marathon vote, is a former academic and peace activist whose first term in office was marred by allegations of corruption and power struggles.
Born in 1955, Mohamud was a harsh critic of incumbent Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, better known as Farmaajo as the latter won the 2017 presidential election, beating the former university professor’s run.
< p class="align--justify">When Farmaajo sought to extend his rule by decree after his term expired without a new vote, Mohamud played a key role in the violent protests that swept the capital Mogadishu and forced the president to seek consensus on how to proceed.
Read:Farmaajo deviates from term extension e.g back
< p class="align--justify">Mohamud, the first Somali president to win a second term, has promised to transform Somalia into “a peaceful c country at peace with the world”.
He will inherit several challenges from his predecessor, including a devastating drought and a protracted battle with al-Shabaab insurgents who attempted to assassinate him during his first term .
He will also have to repair the damage caused by months of political chaos and infighting at both senior levels and between the central government and state agencies.
Read:A full intray awaits the newly elected President
As a member of the powerful Hawiye clan Mohamud entered politics in 2011 when he founded the Union for Peace and Development Party.
Few expected the literal activist to become President, and his 2012 election victory raised hopes that the fragile Horn of Africa nation was on the road to stability and billions in foreign aid since the collapse of Siad’s authoritarian regime Barre in 1991.
Read:Mr. President… Somalia’s surprise election
But his tenure was marred by corruption scandals and political unrest.
Two of the three prime ministers he appointed were ousted over disagreements with him, while two central bank governors quit their jobs, when allegations of bribery surfaced in his government he claimed he had been fired.
Up until his tenure In the end, his government was widely considered more corrupt than any other other previously, prone to contentious issues about jobs, money and power.
< p class="align--justify">Mohamud was born in Jalalaqsi in the central Hiran region and studied at Somalia State University before the civil war broke out in 1991.
He had completed his primary education in his hometown before continuing his secondary education in the capital, Mogadishu.
He attended and received his first degree from the National Polytechnic College, a subsidiary of the Somali National University, in 1981, earning a Bachelor of Technology degree.
In 1986 he went to India, where he studied at Barkatullah University (ex-Bhopal University) until 1988 and obtained a Master of Technology in Technical Education.
During his presidency, Mohamoud visited India in 2015 when he received an honorary doctorate from Barkatullah University lending literature.
Before politics, he spent most of his professional life in the education sector in Somalia, teaching at colleges and universities.
When the central government of Somalia collapsed, following challenges from armed rebel groups, Mohamoud joined other intellectuals in reviving the ed education of the young generation overwhelmed by war in the 1990s.
He became the first Chancellor of the Somali Institute for Management and Development (Simad) College, which later became one of the largest higher education institutions in the Somali capital and was later renamed SimadUniversity.
As a researcher and academic, Mohamoud has published a number of articles including The Role of Somali Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Conflict and Peace; The Somali diaspora and its role in development; and A History of Mediation in Somalia since 1988.
In 2001, Mohamoud joined the Center for Research and Dialogue (CRD), which gave him the opportunity Traveling across the country in the country preaches peace and promotes reconciliation.
He worked for the UN children’s fund Unicef before co-founding Simad in 1999.
After his success in garnering support from other anti-Farmaajo presidential candidates, observers say he must now focus on reunifying the country.
“The country is very polarized at the moment,” Samira Gaid, executive director of Mogadishu-based think-tank Hiraal Institute, said ahead of Sunday’s poll.
“The lengthy election process provides a reset button.”