Somali-American journalist Abdi Aynte wrote an excellent piece on 11 September 2012 for African Arguments on the appointment of new Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. Abdi stated that "I've known President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud for sometime. He's a man of integrity and humility and a social entrepreneur who founded one of Somalia's most successful higher education institutions: Simad University in Mogadishu. Mohamud is also accessible and intrepid--a civil society leader who endured Somalia's 21-year long period of war in the capital." Click here to read Abdi Aynte's report.
Although I do not know the new president, I respect Abdi Aynte's judgment. At a minimum, this change of government opens the possibility for a new beginning in Somalia. I am impressed that the 275-member parliament selected someone who has remained inside Somalia throughout these troubled times and that Sheikh Mohamud comes from civil society and not a political background. It is now important for two things to happen. The new government must eschew the temptation of corruption and the international community must back away from involvement in Somali political affairs. Let the new team see if it can unite most Somalis behind its program on terms it, not the international community, proposes.