The President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi “Farmajo” Mohamed has officially given up his US green card. According to a statement from the President’s Office, Somalia’s first citizen renounced his citizenship at the early hours of Thursday.
Although Somalia’s constitution allows for dual citizenship, despite its lack of functioning governing institutions for the past decades, he decided to surrender his US passport after becoming president in February 2017, it said.
Mr. Mohamed’s action is regarded as a typical example for citizens fleeing the country in search of greener pastures and also help him have a firm grip of the horn of Africa country.
It was reported that the incumbent president was studying in the US when the civil war began in 1991 and so he stayed and claimed asylum. During his short stint in the United States, he worked for the transportation department in Buffalo where he was later asked to return to Somalia as prime minister.
He held that position for eight months in 2010-2011 and then went back to the US.
He returned to Somalia in 2016, leaving his family behind to announce his candidacy for president. However, after his announcement, he received several backlashes from critics who ridiculed him as an outsider who did not have the affairs of Somalia at heart.
Many politicians, including the incumbent prime minister, have dual nationality as a consequence of the civil war.
It’s not certain if Mr. Mohamed chooses to renounce his US citizenship because as US citizen, he was unable to attend the UN General Assembly as a diplomat – a position which brings with it various benefits. Since he was announced as the president of Somalia, he has not attended the gathering in New York.
The move is likely to mount pressure on other leaders, who have in the past been accused of destabilizing Somalia and running to their second countries.
However, citizenship in Somalia is nominally regulated by the country’s 1962 citizenship law, which provides that citizenship can be provided to anyone whose father is Somali or who is ethnically Somali and who renounces claim to any other nationality.
While the 1962 law does not permit dual nationality, the provisional constitution of 2012 does allow Somalis to hold another nationality.