Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (Somali: Xasan Sheekh Maxamuud, Arabic: حسن شيخ محمود) (born 29 November 1955) is a Somali politician. He is the current President of Somalia, having been elected on 10 September 2012 and inaugurated into office six days later. A civil and political activist, he was previously a university professor and dean. Mohamud is also the founder and Chairman of the Peace and Development Party.
Mohamud was born in 1955 in Jalalaqsi, a small agricultural town situated in the central Hiran region of Somalia. He is a member of the Abgaal Hawiye clan, and comes from a middle class background.
Mohamud is married and has children. He speaks Somali and English.
Mohamud finished his basic secular and Islamic instruction in his hometown.
Mohamud later moved to India in 1986 and attended Bhopal University (now Barkatullah University). There, he completed a master's degree in technical education in 1988.
In a professional capacity, Mohamud accepted a position as a professor at the Somali National University in 1981.
When the civil war broke out in the early 1990s, he remained in Somalia and acted as a consultant with various NGOs, UN bureaus, and peace and development projects. Mohamud worked as an education officer for UNICEF in the central and southern parts of the country from 1993 to 1995. In 1999, he also co-established the Somali Institute of Management and Administration (SIMAD) in the capital. The institution subsequently grew into the SIMAD University, with Mohamud acting as dean until 2010.
Mohamud entered Somali politics the following year, when he established the independent Peace and Development Party (PDP). PDP members unanimously elected him as the party's chairman in April 2011, with a mandate to serve as leader for the next three years.
In August 2012, Mohamud was selected as a Member of Parliament (MP) in the newly-formed Federal Parliament of Somalia. Besides academic and civic work, he is also a successful entrepreneur.
Mohamud has ties with Al-Islah, Somalia's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. With the organization, he assisted in various philanthropic initiatives, including the construction of primary and secondary schools, as well as university facilities and research hospitals in regions across the country. The network has also offered scholarships for higher studies and placements in educational institutions to many students.
President of Somalia
On 10 September 2012, legislators elected Mohamud as the new President of Somalia during the country's 2012 presidential elections. Members of parliament marked their ballot papers behind a curtain before casting them in a clear box in front of foreign envoys and hundreds of Somali men and women as well as being broadcast live on television. After the first round of voting, former President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed emerged as the frontrunner, amassing 64 votes. Mohamud was a close second with 60 votes, and Prime Minister Abdiweli Mohamed Ali placed third with 32 votes. Along with the fourth place finisher Abdiqadir Osoble, Ali later chose to drop out ahead of the second round. Both challengers, along with the other hopefuls that were vying for the post, thereafter reportedly instructed their supporters to back Mohamud's candidacy. Mohamud went on to earn a lopsided win in the final round, defeating Ahmed 71–29% (190 votes vs. 79 votes).
Immediately after the final ballot results had been read out, Mohamud was sworn into office. Lawmakers began singing Somalia's national anthem, and Mogadishu's residents also expressed satisfaction at the outcome, viewing it as a moment of change.
In his acceptance speech, President Mohamud thanked the general Somali populace, the Federal Parliament, as well as the other challengers. He also voiced support for the ongoing post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Somalia and indicated that he was prepared to work closely with the international community.
Additionally, Ahmed congratulated Mohamud on his victory and pledged to cooperate with the new head of state. Prime Minister Ali touted the selection as the start of a new era in Somali politics. Abdirahman Mohamud Farole, President of the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia, also thanked Mohamud, the Somali people, and all of the other stakeholders that were involved in the Roadmap political process, which ultimately led to the presidential election and the end of the transitional period.
Mohamud's appointment was likewise welcomed in the international community. The UN Special Representative for Somalia Augustine Mahiga issued a statement describing the election as a "great step forward on the path to peace and prosperity[...] Somalia has proved the doubters wrong and sent a powerful message of progress to all of Africa and indeed to the entire world". Similarly, the AU Commission for Somalia hailed the selection and pledged to support the new leadership. British Prime Minister David Cameron and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also extended their congratulations, echoing the general sentiment that the election represented a significant achievement. The United States government in turn released a press statement felicitating Mohamud on his victory, which it qualified as "an important milestone for the people of Somalia, and a crucial step forward along the path of building a representative government". It also urged the Somali authorities to build on this momentum, and promised to continue partnering with the Somali government. In addition, President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) cabled a message of congratulations to Somalia's new head of state, as did the UAE's Vice President and Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum as well as the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
On 16 September 2012, Mohamud was formally inaugurated as President of Somalia at a ceremony attended by various foreign leaders and dignitaries. UN Special Envoy to Somalia Mahiga described the moment as the beginning of a "new era" for the nation as well as the conclusion of the transitional period.
On 12 September 2012, while President Mohamud was meeting with foreign delegates in Mogadishu, two suicide bombers and two gunmen dressed in government uniforms attempted an attack on the Jazeera Hotel where the dignitaries had convened. There were reportedly around 10 casualties, among which were three Somali security detail, one AU peacekeeper, and the assailants themselves. None of the assembled statesmen, including Kenyan Foreign Minister Sam Ongeri, were harmed. Seemingly unfazed by the incidents, President Mohamud continued his speech before the gathered press and foreign officials, stating that "things like what's happening now outside will continue for some time, but I'm sure and I'm confident it's the last things that's taking place here in Somalia[...] We have been hearing such events frequently, but this is a special case. We didn't hear it for the last couple of months even." He added that "first and foremost we will address the security issue. Priority number one is security and priority number two and priority number three." The Al-Shabaab militant group later claimed responsibility for the attacks. According to Somali government officials, AU forces have assumed responsibility for President Mohamud's security while investigations are launched into the incidents.
On 6 October 2012, President Mohamud appointed political newcomer Abdi Farah Shirdon as the new Prime Minister of Somalia. On 4 November 2012, Shirdon named a new Cabinet, which was later endorsed by the legislature on 13 November 2012.
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