Earlier this month, Mustafa Omer lived in exile. Now, he’s the acting president of Ethiopia’s Somali region and one of the country’s most powerful people.
The dramatic turnaround comes less than three weeks after federal forces stormed the regional capital, Jijiga, and forced the previous regional president, Abdi Mohamoud Omar, also known as Abdi Illey, to step down.
With no political experience and no mandate from the 4.5 million people he will lead, Mustafa faces formidable challenges addressing ethnic tensions and balancing Somali peoples’ desire for self-determination with their role within Ethiopia’s federalist government.
But Mustafa’s popular rhetoric and personal history have raised hopes that he’s the right person to lead the Somali region through a period of challenging transition. Read more >>