Former Somalia Prime Minister Ali Mohameed Gedi speaking when he launched his presidential bid at City Palace Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia on December 17, 2016. He seeks to turnaround the war-torn country if elected. More than 20 candidates are vying for the presidency. Photo/Billy Mutai
By PATRICK MAYOYO
Former Somalia Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Gedi launched his presidential bid in Mogadishu on Saturday and outlined six pillars that are going to guide his presidency if elected.
While speaking at the City Palace Hotel in the capital of the worn-torn country, Mr Gedi said he joined the presidential race in order to address shortcomings that have failed to bring stability and development in Somalia since the government collapsed in 1991.
The former PM said his transformational politics will revolve around security and defense, democracy and good governance, the economy, infrastructure development, human resource capital and foreign relations.
“If given the mandate, my government is committed over the next four years to the maintenance of total peace, security and stability as a percusor to any meaningful socio-economic development,” he said.
Mr Gedi said once the pillars of ensuring peace and stability are fully established and operationised, his government would fully commit to promoting and upholding the principles of democracy and good governance.
“My government will specifically promote constitutionalism and the rule of law through guaranteeing among others promotion of policies and programmes that stir patriotism and respect for national core values and ethos.
On the economy Mr Gedi said the prolonged civil strife in Somalia followed by war on terror have had a tremendous negative impact on the overall economy of the country.
“Against this background therefore my government will strive to immediately stabilize the economy and thereafter increase the size of the economy and economic growth rate of at least 6.5 per annum,” he emphasized.
Former Somalia Prime Minister Ali Mohameed Gedi supporters following proceedings when he launched he presidential bid at City Palace Hotel Mogadishu, Somalia in this picture taken on December 17, 2016. Photo/Billy Mutai
On infrastructure development Mr Gedi said he plans to heavily invest in the energy sector, design and develop a national transport master plan, establish a road fund and increase ICT and telephone national coverage.
“We will offer incentives to encourage use of alternative forms of renewable energy such as solar, biogas and wind,” he added.
He said he shall support the development of and investment in human resource capital through education for all Somalia citizens.
“The introduction of free universal primary education and the introduction of free business technical vocational and entrepreneur training will help achieve the strategy of education for all,” he noted.
Mr Gedi added that if elected president he would heavily invest in the development of and construction of affordable housing facilities and institutions both in urban and rural areas.
On foreign policy, the former premier said he shall seek to promote and protect Somalia’s national image, more strategically its national interests abroad.
“We shall implement a foreign policy based on the known principles of good neighbourliness and mutual co-operation; respect for international law: peaceful co-existence and settlement of disputes,” he stressed.
The entry of Mr Gedi into the presidential race brings to more than 20 aspirants who have declared interest in leading the troubled horn of Africa country. Ghedi served as prime minister of Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government under the administration of President Abdullahi Yusuf from 2004 to 2007, when he resigned.
This is the second time that Ghedi is running for the presidency; the first was in 2009, but he withdrew his nomination.
Others who vying for the presidency include Hassan Sheikh Mohamud the current president of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) whose term ended on August 20, 2016.
Mr Mohamud is an academic and political and civic activist who has worked for several national and international peace and development organizations. In 2011, he founded the Peace and Development Party and currently serves as its chairman.
Also in the race is former Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo. Farmajo was prime minister from October 2010 to June 2011 when he resigned under pressure from the international community as part of the Kampala Accord . He had succeeded Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, who also resigned from his post following a dispute.
Also in the presidential, race is Mr Omar Abdirashid Sharmarke the current Prime Minister. Then there is Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aadan the current President of South-West State of Somalia and former speaker of parliament.
Mr Aadan entered politics in 2004 when he was elected speaker of the parliament in Somalia’s transitional government. He held that position until 2007 when he was ousted for holding unauthorized talks with members of the Islamic Courts Union.
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