Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s First Year in Power: A Rollercoaster Ride of Milestones and Puzzles!

It was on the first-year anniversary since Somali Parliamentarians overwhelmingly handed President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud (HSM) a second mandate to lead the country that significant strides were made in numerous spheres, most notably in the security sector. The offensive by the Somali National Army (SNA) backed by local militias popularly known as Macawisley has dislodged Al-Shabab from considerable swathes of territory across south-central Somalia, marking a significant breakthrough in the 16-year war. The government is embarking on a second-round offensive in the Southern regions aimed at wiping out the Al-Shabab menace from the face of Somali territory. President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s vision to build a peaceful, viable, and prosperous, fully democratic federal Somalia is a long-held principle to secure domestic peace within Somali borders as well as pursuing peaceful relations with its neighbors and the global community at large.

By deploying local militias in the counterinsurgency campaign against Al-Shabab, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s administration applied a proven formula that ensures the Macawisley militias are well-regulated outfits that do not constitute any threat to national security and social order. HSM’s use of the Macawisley is a masterstroke that has seen the Somali National Army (SNA) backed militias take back control of large swathes of territory in south-central Somalia formerly held by Al-Shabaab while inflicting heavy to the terrorists. The relentless onslaught against the Al-Qaida linked terror group marks a significant breakthrough in the 16-year war.

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The Mozambican government courted controversy by formalizing the use of self-defense militias against militants linked to the Islamic State (IS) in the conflict-prone, northern Cabo Delgado Province. Nevertheless, the use of militias as an essential fighting force dates back to the American Revolution when George Washington used them alongside his continental regular army. Galvanized by their President’s commitment and tough, no-nonsense approach to eliminating terror, the entire Somali population has put its weight behind the President. The organic uprising against the terrorists represents a turning point on the war on Al-Shabab as Somali security forces and allied civilian fighters step up their efforts to rid the country of all forms of terror and violence.

The HSM administration is committed to continuing to improve revenue collection and making room for priority spending while containing discretionary expenditure pressures. The emphasis of policymakers should be on the quality of regulation, not on whether a militia is inherently desirable or undesirable. Public financial management has been strengthened, and improvements are ongoing on integrating all employees in the payroll system, fiscal reporting, procurement, and management of non-financial assets. While acknowledging economic activity in Somalia has been weighed down by the ongoing drought and the global economic crisis, the Bank stated progress has been made on the petroleum sector legal framework.

With about 7.8 million Somalis — half the country’s estimated population — experiencing the worst drought in four decades, exacerbated by climate factors, HSM has taken strong measures to tackle the drought and lessen the overall impact of climate change. International response to Somalia’s drought-induced humanitarian crisis has been critical in averting a potentially devastating famine of biblical proportions. On average since July 2022, food aid has reached nearly 5.5 million people per month. Aid has come mostly in the form of cash transfer.

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