Photograph — The African Exponent

Despite having cordial and official relations with the United States (U.S.), President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed of Somalia has voluntarily renounced his American citizenship, a country in which he lived, received education and worked. 

“We are officially informing you that the president has renounced his second citizenship of the United States today,” his office said on Thursday. Mohamed, otherwise known by his nickname ‘Farmajo,’ began the process to abdicate his second citizenship shortly after being elected in 2017.

The renunciation comes about two weeks after American President Donald Trump attacked four minority freshmen congresswomen including Somali-born Ilhan Omar, whom he asked to return to her nation of birth. 

Without stating any reason for which the leader chose to give up his adopted passport, his office revealed that the renouncement follows the completion of the required legal and immigration processes that had been initiated after Mohamed’s election.

“The Provisional Constitution of the Federal Republic of Somalia allows for dual citizenship. The President, however, voluntarily filed for the renunciation,” the statement added. The Presidency further explained that the task had involved legal experts from the naturalization departments of the U.S. and Somalia.

President Mohamed lived in the U.S. for several years, serving as a diplomat in Washington in the late 1980s before he sought asylum. He also served in various administrative roles in America and he most recently worked as a New York state transportation department official in Buffalo.

Farmajo returned to his native Somalia as prime minister in 2010, a position he held for eight months before he was elected as Somalia’s president in February 2017. More so, his administration has close ties with Washington in its fight against Al-Shabaab militants.

Considering the Somali constitution allows for dual nationality, many Somalis are dual citizens, as most fled years of conflict, drought and economic hardship that has plagued the Horn of Africa for several years. However, some Somali officials who have dual citizenship have reportedly been accused of lacking loyalty to Somalia.

The president is expected to run for reelection in 2021. “I am proud to serve my people and always believe in their potential to rebuild this nation. I am neither discouraged by our past nor daunted by the enormity of the task ahead. I will continue serving my people honestly with the firm belief that real power rests with the people,” President Mohamed tweeted on Thursday.

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