New terrorist incidents by Al Shabaab took place in Mogadishu where mortar shells fell near the presidential palace, killing three people and wounding 11. In central Somalia near Mahas in Hiraan, on the other hand, militants attacked a convoy carrying food aid. The ensuing firefight cost at least 20 lives (https://www.garoweonline.com/en/news/somalia/au-forces-vow-action-after-deadly-somalia-attack).
The balance of the first hundred days of the Mohamud presidency is mixed. Above all, internal security has been a setback. Local sources point above all to the error of having promised important results in countering the insurgency without having followed up with adequate preparation both in the military and in the Somali society for this objective (https://somaliguardian.com/news/somalia-news/hassan-sheikh-mohamuds-first-100-days-success-or-failure/).
On the contrary, politics seems now more divided, especially with regard to the relationship with regional governors. The most tense situation is in Puntland whose leader Deni aspired to hold the position of Prime Minister, an appointment instead managed by Mohamud himself and entrusted to a politician from Jubaland. Relations with the other Presidents do not seem in a much better shape either. A test of the ability to contain centrifugal pushes will be given by the possible approval of extensions decided by the regional parliaments.
Regional presidents say they thus want to prevent manoeuvres aimed at replacing them in agreement with the oppositions. Local Parliaments have also decided to break off cooperation with Mogadishu on finances – as their demands on the redistribution of foreign aid and investments have not been met. This will be the ground on which progress or new setbacks will be measured between now and the end of the year.
These tensions are also the result of the priority given by Mohamud to taking care of diplomatic relations, first of all with the Gulf countries – here preferring above all the relationship with the United Arab Emirates – and then with his neighbours in the region, with the recovery of better relations with Kenya in particular. This choice was visible in the numerous trips undertaken abroad, which preceded those at home and were often accompanied by trade or defence agreements.
The results will have to be evaluated over time. The centrality of Emirati support in combating drought and of Kenyan support in fostering economic trade is undeniable. It comes, however, at the expense of ties with Qatar and Ethiopia, in what remains a zero-sum game.
The visit of the new Head of AFRICOM (US Military Command for Africa), Gen. Michael Langley – part of a four-day tour that also touched on Djibouti and Kenya (https://www.radiodalsan.com/en/76907/2022/09/langley-makes-first-visit-to-africa-as-commander/) – highlights how there has been progress on this side, with a Mohamud presidency that was instead discounting the decision to withdraw US units.
The blatant re-entry and official visits also respond to precise Washington interests, which this Administration has nevertheless been able to re-interpret so far, albeit in balancing with other counterparts, such as Beijing. Publicity was given to the meeting with Beijing Ambassador Fei, the latest evidence of this trait (https://shabellemedia.com/somali-president-hassan-sheikh-receives-chinese-ambassador/).