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The Fight against Al-Shabaab: A Road to Legitimacy for the Somali Government

Storyline:Archive, National News

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s second return to the presidency in Somalia has been hailed and celebrated with renewed optimism across the country. This was largely because of the challenging environment in which he ascended to the high office.

Many Somalis had been swallowed by despair following the repetitive failures of previous administrations to address their most pressing needs. His preceding administration had not achieved much in terms of implementing their agenda and the pledges they had put forward. Furthermore, the country was grappling with an unprecedented drought that had affected millions of people.

Besides the internal political conflicts, Somalia’s relationship with its neighboring countries was at its lowest in recent years. Most notably, terrorist groups and illegal militia had taken over most parts of the country and were extorting citizens at will. It is against this backdrop that Hassan Sheikh Mohamud took over as the first Somali President to be elected for a second term. With a year under his belt, it is now time to look back and reflect on the trajectory that President Mohamud’s administration has taken.

If there is anything this administration will be remembered for in this first year, it must be the war on terrorism. Since taking over power in 2022, President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has declared an all-out war against the Al-Shabaab terrorist group. The president announced that his administration would annihilate the terrorist group by using military, cutting its financial ties, and engaging in an ideological war against the group to end extremism and misuse of religion.

The results of this war have been resounding. The government has been able to regain vast sections of the country that had previously been under the reign of Al-Shabaab. Many members of the militant group have been killed, arrested, and disarmed. The group’s influence in the country is waning by the day. While there is still a long time to go before the war can be declared won, the various battles already won must be celebrated.

The milestones already achieved in the war against Al-Shabaab have borne many fruits for the current administration. The president and his team have won the hearts of many Somalis and rebuilt the trust that was missing in previous administrations. The courage the president has shown in uniting the country and inspiring the nation against a common enemy in Al-Shabaab is admirable. As a consequence, many more people believe in the government and its ability to protect them and offer them basic services.

The fight against Al-Shabaab has also helped to earn the Somali government legitimacy. Legitimacy is the acceptance and recognition of a government’s authority by its citizens. In Somalia, where the government has struggled to establish its authority, the fight against Al-Shabaab has been an important step in earning legitimacy. President Mohamud’s administration has earned legitimacy by demonstrating its ability to provide security and protect citizens.

As the government has made progress in the fight against Al-Shabaab, it has shown that it has the capacity to provide the basic functions of a state. This has helped to legitimise the government in the eyes of Somalis, who see it as a legitimate authority that is working to provide for their needs. Moreover, the current administration has also earned the government legitimacy is by strengthening its relationships with international partners. The government’s efforts to combat Al-Shabaab have been supported by a range of international partners, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. This support has helped to legitimise the government by demonstrating that it is working with the international community to address a common threat.

Conclusively, the commitment by the current administration to fight against Al-Shabaab has increased the level of trust of the people in their government. The government has demonstrated its commitment to providing security and stability and involving local communities in the fight. This has not only increased the level of trust but also earned the government legitimacy that was lacking in previous administrations. The operation’s success has been aided by a population that has been pushed to breaking point by drought.