Adual US-Somali citizen who until recently worked for the department of transportation in Buffalo, New York was declared president of Somalia on Wednesday.
Mohamed A Mohamed, known as Farmajo, was elected by parliament in what observers say were the most democratic proceedings Somalia had seen in decades, leading to celebrations in the streets from his supporters.
Mr Farmajo is a former prime minister, and defeated incumbent president Hasan Sheikh Mohamud after two rounds of voting. The outgoing president conceded defeat.The newly elected president was born in Mogadishu and worked in the US for the Somali foreign ministry in the 1980s, later obtaining asylum for himself and his family and becoming a dual citizen.
After he resigned as prime minister in 2011 following eight months in office, Mr Farmajo moved to Buffalo and took up a post with the department of transportation.
Mr Mohamed’s daughter Intisar still lives in New York. “He loves his country,” she told the Buffalo News. “At the end of the day that’s where he was born.”
Somalia is one of the world’s poorest and most politically dysfunctional countries. Mr Farmajo said he recognised that he had a “daunting” task ahead of him.
“This victory belongs to the Somali people,” the newly elected president said after taking the oath of office. “This is the beginning of the era of unity, the democracy of Somalia and the beginning of the fight against corruption.”
The US state department congratulated Mr Farmajo on his victory.