Before his official inauguration on June 9th, the newly elected President Mohamud launched the ‘Peace Train’, a series of official visits to the federal states, to promote reconciliation, stability and measures against drought.
On the first leg he reached Baidoa (South West) on May 31st, welcomed by President Laftagaren, an ally of former President Farmajo. The two political leaders inaugurated a public building that will house the new regional government headquarters, before holding discussions behind closed doors. The regional president then escorted Mohamud back to the city airport. A second stop took place in Dhusamareb, capital of Galmudug (June 2nd), with talks with that President Qoorqoor, deputies and local notables.
Hypotheses of pressure for a replacement of Laftagaren, artfully spread by his own associates, were denied. Mohamud’s initiative in any case meets with an initial and immediate political test – not only on the domestic side, but also on the international side vis-à-vis Addis Ababa.
More relaxed tones can be observed in the interlocution with Puntland, whose President Deni has turned his votes towards Mohamud. Instead, relations with Somaliland remain difficult.
A second order of novelty is in the appointments that follow the internal purges in the national security apparatus and specifically in the intelligence agencies, the cornerstone of pro-Farmajo power.
Also of significance in this regard is the first US raid (June 3rd) against Al Shabaab militiamen since the return of special forces to Somalia was announced. The attack hit five terrorists near Kismayo (Jubaland), but has not yet been officially confirmed by the US military commands, as is the practice in the immediate aftermath of the event.
There is however a renewed focus on counter-terrorism. Mohamud appears to be aware that any progress on this dossier makes for an easy comparison with his predecessor. Likewise, the lack of concrete results may result in a label of inefficiency that would be difficult to shake off. Mohamud may want to ‘regionalise’ the solution to the various dossiers – including the fight against terrorism. Tools and timescales ave yet to be defined.
The profile kept instead by PM Roble at this stage is characteristically low, with few public outings. There is no speculation as to his succession. Relations with the population are described in positive terms.