Heightened campaigns have kicked off in Somalia ahead of February’s elections that have attracted two former presidents.
US-based businessman, Abdihabib Yasin Warsame, is also in the race for the top office and says flushing out Al Shabaab is top on his agenda.
Warsame, the chairman of Hayaan Political Party (HPP), has also promised to create jobs and ease the cost of doing business.
The scholar from Puntland State will be up against veterans including President Mohamed Abdulahi Farmajo, who is seeking a new term, and ex-presidents Hassan Sheihk Mahamoud and Sheikh Sharrif Ahmed.
To strengthen regional economic bloc, Warsame has pledged to fast-track Somalia’s bid to join the East Africa Community (EAC), saying the bloc will foster growth and stability.
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“After every election there is a crisis. This should be the case anymore. Somalia should join the regional bloc and be part and parcel of regional growth. If elected, I will ensure we join EAC,” he told Sunday Standard.
Warsame, who holds a PhD in political science, has challenged Farmajo’s administration to provide security to investors setting up businesses in the country.
He cited lack of national ethos, weak governance institutions and poor service delivery as major hurdles to their prosperity.
The 44-year-old also promised to ensure all civil servants are trained adequately to render quality services to citizens.
Yesterday, Warsame who was enroute to Mogadishu said bilateral relations between Kenya and Somalia should be enhanced, noting that Kenya has been home to Somali refugees for decades.
“The Somali government has not been well established. We still don’t have the Somali National Army and a working constitution. Kenya has been host of Somali refugees for decades and Kenyan soldiers are helping Somalia fight Al Shaabab. These are ties that must be strengthened,” he said.
To defeat Shabaab, Warsame said he will include youth in the government and allow them to exploit water resources along the coastal line.