Wednesday, January 23, 2013
By: Faiza Abbas Mahamud, Mshale Associate Editor
A day after meeting with President Obama and receiving recognition for his government, the new Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was greeted by a sea of waving flags in the hands of Somali-Minnesotans Friday evening at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
Speaking mostly in Somali, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud addressed about 4,000 jubilant supporters and thanked the U.S. government for recognizing Somalia. Relations with the United States were cut off in 1991.
President Mohamud, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Fowziya Haji Adam, Minister of Information and Telecommunication Abdullahi Elmoge Hersi and several senior advisors, talked about his mission to make Somalia a peaceful and stable country. вЂњYou can help us, but it is our job [Somali government] to fix the problems.вЂќ
Not all were delighted to see SomaliaвЂ™s newly elected president. About 50 protestors stood outside the convention center chanting, вЂњWe donвЂ™t need tribalismвЂќ and carrying signs with slogans including вЂњWe need a president who will follow the Somali Constitution.вЂќ
The protestors demanded a federal government. вЂњThe president is confining Somalis,вЂќ said Abdirashid Ahmed, one of the protestors. вЂњSheikh Hassan Mohamud is not going by the constitution.вЂќ
U.S. Representative Keith Ellison, D-Minn., embraced SomaliaвЂ™s president and reassured Somali-Minnesotans that the relationship between the U.S. and Somalia will continue. вЂњI am as happy as anybody tonight. Somalia is not alone,вЂќ said Ellison.
The president advised Somalis to avoid holding on to the past. вЂњThere is a price to pay in order to get that good Somalia,вЂќ said Mohamud. He talked about love and patience as the key tools to rebuild Somalia. Mohamud shared with the crowd some of his experience with the U.S. president during his visit to Washington, D.C.
вЂњPresident Obama has showed commitment and national recognition to Somalia,вЂќ he said. вЂњI have also met with Secretary Hilary Clinton. She made some promises for us.вЂќ