Following the surprise electoral victory of Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo to the presidency of Somalia, pro-unity protests have broken out in the north of the country, inside the borders of the self-declared independent republic of Somaliland.
Public demonstrations supporting the newly elected Somali president, and the political unity of the Somali people, have taken place in the northern cities of Buhoodle, Laascaanood, Las Qoray, and Borama, in addition to numerous villages and hamlets. News of Farmaajo’s victory was also well-received by residents of Hargesia and Burco, however Somaliland authorities did not allow public demonstrations to take place within those cities.
Widely respected for his honesty, work ethic, and refusal to engage in divisive clan politics, Farmaajo’s electoral win has been greeted enthusiastically throughout southern Somalia as well and has led to a cascading of positive news that some are now calling the ‘Farmaajo effect.’ In addition to these pro-unity protests in the north, residents of the war-torn city of Gaalkacyo, in the South-Central region of the country, tore down a ‘greenline’ that had divided the city into two separate, feuding tribal enclaves; close to Gaalkacyo, in Dhusamareb, the militant Sufi group Ahlu-Sunnah Wal Jammah declared that it would yield to the government following Farmaajo’s victory; and even more suprisingly, in the far south of the country, the leader of a large contingent of Al-Shabaab fighters indicated that he would soon surrender to the government.
Without firing a shot, President Farmaajo appears to have already made major progress in uniting the long fragmented country which has been in civil war for two decades. He has been president since Wednesday.