Mogadishu – President Museveni has conveyed his best wishes to President Hassan Sheik Mohamud, the 10th President of Somalia for his success as he prepares to take up the responsibilities and challenges of presidency of the Federal Government of Somalia.
“As you embark on the new responsibilities, President Museveni wishes to assure you and the people of Somalia of continued friendship and sympathetic interests of the Uganda government. He looks forward to working with you not only to develop closer relations between our two countries but also to unite our efforts in the cause of peace and brotherhood of all peoples.”
This message was delivered June 9, 2022 by Rt. Hon. Amama Mbabazi, Presidential Special Envoy who represented Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda and led Uganda’s delegation at the inauguration ceremony of President Sheik Hassan Mohamud who was elected into office on May 15, 2022.
In his inauguration speech, President Hassan Sheik Mohamud re-echoed his slogan; “Somali at peace with itself and with the world.”
He promised true, wide reconciliation among Somalis, co-operation with the international community on security, democratic system that allows universal suffrage, fair and independent judiciary and appealed for support in response to drought to avoid famine, among others.
Uganda’s Defence Minister, Hon. Vincent Ssempijja while in Mogadishu, stated that Uganda’s defence sector is very proud that the people of Somalia and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) have been able to have a peaceful transfer of power from President Farmaajo to President Hassan Sheik Mohamud.
“In the spirit of Pan-Africanism, Uganda deployed her troops in Somalia and together with other partners and the FGS, we have been able to pacify large parts of Somalia. Our efforts have yielded a new era where the Somali people are at a level where they are able to have an elected government,” Hon Ssempijja observed.
Hon Ssempijja underscored that it was the wise decision of the Commander-in-Chief to deploy in Somalia in support of fellow Africans.
He said the efforts of Uganda’s sons and daughters have been able to achieve the situation that is pertaining today which has seen peace and stability, an indication that Uganda’s efforts in Somalia have not been in vain.
“The peaceful transfer of power from President Farmaajo to President Hassan is really a testimony that we have not wasted our time in this place. We pray that the stability continues and as a country, we are always ready to come in where our support is required,” Hon Ssempijja emphasized.
Uganda’s Deputy Ambassador to Somalia, Amb. Maj Gen (rtd) Nathan Mugisha, stated that the inauguration of Hassan Sheik Muhamud is a sign of hope, a vote of confidence, a plus to ATMIS and a good step as far as democracy is concerned.
He mentioned that FGS with support from AMISOM/ATMIS has successfully and peacefully conducted Somali elections four times; 2008, 2012, 2017 and 2022.
He added that without the 2022 Somali elections being successful, it would have threatened to reverse the AMISOM/ATMIS gains.
“We are looking forward to supporting the FGS to make sure that they sustain the gains and the victory we have already achieved in averting al-shabaab and other insurgents,” Amb Mugisha noted.
Amb Mugisha commended the Somali Government for generating its own security forces and observed that there is still need for more troop generation.
For them to succeed in this, he called on the international community to support the SSF further to make sure that they can be able to timely take over the responsibilities that ATMIS has been performing.
“ATMIS has been a successful campaign and we want it to be sustained up to the end so that the Somalis can be able to join the international community to participate in their rightful duties in the international community,” Amb. Mugisha emphasized.
Brig Gen Keith Katungi, Ugandan Contingent Commander in Somalia, stated in an interview that ATMIS’s involvement in the Somali elections is a security operation not an offensive action against the enemy but part of stabilization efforts in Somalia.
“All ATMIS sectors were involved in the last concluded elections but Sector 1 being in control of the city and the center where the FGS sits, took the lion’s share of what needed to be done,” Brig Katungi noted.
Asked about the experiences and the lessons learnt during the last concluded Somali elections, Brig Katungi observed that, “Somali is a fractured society recovering from war and thus you do not expect Somali brothers to be at the same footing with you. You have to be very sensitive, impartial, know your brothers and sisters that you are helping so that you can offer your all. You must be conscious to know that they need a brother to lean on, create harmonious relations with the leaders and SSF and keep revising your mandate and keep on track.”
He further applauded the resoluteness of the UPDF soldiers who have been serving in Somalia unreservedly.
“Above all, we had good relations with the people of Somalia. At times, leaders think of engaging those in higher echelons but the common man matters a lot. The common Somali knows what UPDF has done in this country. We are always working together with Somalis and that was very important,” noted Brig Katungi.
Brig Katungi underscored that the inauguration of Hassan Sheik Mohamud, is a new chapter not only for Somalia but also for ATMIS and the international community that has been supporting Somalia.
“As FGS, ATMIS and SSF, I think we won and Somalia has not fallen back into a civil war. Together with our Somali brothers, we have won together and together we can.”
Uganda was the first country to deploy troops to Somalia in March 2007 and remains the leading Troop Contributing Country (TCC) to AMISOM, now transformed into African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) with effect from April 1, 2022.
ATMIS has brought relative peace and stability in Somalia leading to some noticeable economic recovery coupled with a boom in trade and reconstruction.