Election of New President in Somalia “a rebirth of hope” That Could Fade Over Time: Bishop

Bishop Giorgio Bertin. Credit: ICMC

The Apostolic Administrator of Somalia’s Catholic Diocese of Mogadishu has said that while the election of president Hassan Sheikh Mahamud is a sign of hope, “new direction” in the Horn of Africa country is still unpredictable.

In a report by the information service of Propaganda Fide, Agenzia Fides, Bishop Giorgio Bertin said that there is always “a rebirth of hope” whenever there is an election of a new president in Somalia, but that the hope fades with time, a situation he said also affects the direction of the country.

“It is difficult to talk about a new direction in Somalia. I have seen 'new directions' in this land,” Bishop Bertin who is also the Local Ordinary of Djibouti has been quoted as saying.

In the Wednesday, June 1 Agenzia Fides report, the Catholic Bishop adds, “With the election of a new President, there is always a rebirth of hope that then fades over the years, and this was also the case when Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo was elected; we had many hopes which then faded.”

The Italian-born Bishop told Agenzia Fides that he perceives the election of president Mahamud with much caution. In the report, he says that together with the faithful, they will embrace hope rather than despair for a better Somalia.


“I look at the results of these elections with great caution and I stand, along with my faithful, on the side of those who hope and not those who despair,” Bishop Bertin says.

Explaining the reason for their hope, the 75-year-old Bishop says, “We must always give the new administration that is born a chance, but bearing in mind the obstacles, like the structures of the clans, the international actors, who influence.”

On the drought situation in the country, the member of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) told Agenzia Fides that the situation in Somalia, compared to Djibouti, is dramatic due to lack of a national administration to govern the entire country.

“Drought is endemic in Djibouti, while the situation in Somalia is dramatic also due to the absence of state institutions that are able to govern the entire territory,” Bishop Bertin is quoted as saying in the June 1 report. 

He adds, “The al-Shabāb, who do not want normalization in Somalia, operate in rural areas. In this country, in addition to the natural disaster, there is also the catastrophe of the institutions. Ethiopia is also slipping down a very dangerous path.”

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Bishop Bertin who has been the Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu since his appointment April 1990 said that through Caritas Somalia headquartered in the Somali region of Puntland, humanitarian aid has reached a number of displaced people.

“There are opportunities to help; we have done it and we are doing it. We are now responding to this terrible emergency with immediate help for the displaced and commitment to development,” he says.

He adds in reference to the dryland project that lasted for three years from 2012, “We have seen that it is possible to carry out projects like the ones we have done. There is always the possibility of working in Somalia.”

It is reported that president Mahamud was voted in by parliamentarians on May 15 in an airport hangar protected by blast walls from Islamist insurgents whom he must now fight for a second time.

The 66-year-old former president who ruled from 2012 to 2017 got 214 votes against the incumbent president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed who got 110 votes in a third-round runoff whose result was confirmed around midnight.


Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.