BY VITALIS KIMUTAI
Residents are conducting business with relative calm now as compared to a year ago when Al Shabaab militia group reigned. With the election of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud on Monday, expectations are high in Somalia that reconstruction efforts will be doubled.
The Somali National Army, supported by United Nations and African Union peace-keeping force, is conducting security checks in key areas and local police manning the town centre and directing traffic.
Buildings that were bombed and shattered are being rebuilt and new shops dot the city. “Things have changed as shops opening up to midnight while a year ago they closed at 6pm,” Mr Hassan Ali, a businessman told The Standard in Mogadishu. Fourteen-seater matatus, like the ones plying Kenyan roads are operating in fairly orderly manner with no touts shouting and fighting.
Foreigners disembarking at Aden Abdulle International Airport undergo security checks before being driven to their destinations in four-wheel vehicles guarded by armed police.
“We always ensure foreigners are safe as they can enter into areas that are not very safe,” a police said in halting Kiswahili.
Even the country’s Parliament Buildings in the city centre, which is expected to house 275 newly elected MPs is under rehabilitation.
“MPs will operate from the ground floor for sometime until the construction is completed,” newly elected speaker Prof Osman Ja wari said.
Thousands of bags of imported cement, tonnes of nails, iron sheets, tiles, paint and timber, have been stocked by businessmen in the town as demand for construction material keep rising. Demand for labour has also risen and construction experts are most sought after.
On average, a commercial plot in the heart of Mogadishu goes for $200,000 (Sh16.8m) and it is not easily available as demand is high.
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