In 2012, the Somali National Constituent Assembly and other key stakeholders have agreed, under intense pressure from the international community, to allocate 30 percent quota of Federal Parliament seats for women.
Unfortunately, all men of the traditional elders selected Members of Parliament, women received only 14 percent in a 275-member legislature. Disenfranchisement is even more pronounced in Federal Member States, including Puntland and Somaliland, where (3%) women have been selected in the 66-member regional legislature in Puntland and only one woman among 164 members of Somaliland Parliament (less than 1%). Women are not faring any better at the Cabinet level as there are five women (three ministers and two deputy ministers in the 66-member cabinet (8%). Similarly, there are 4 women ( one minister, two deputy ministers, and one DG ) in cabinet of ministers in Puntland,
Under the theme ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality’, the day is aimed at encouraging governments to step up efforts in empowering women and eradicating cultural practices, laws and regulations that hinder the realization of their full potential in society the government should come up with a fair formula that spells out women’s equitable representation of the 2016 electoral selections in line with the general principle of the provisional constitution of Somalia and article 22 of the Istanbul Communiqué of February 2016
My candidacy of Somalia’s lower house MP in 2016
I have launched my candidacy on 5 May 2016 and Somalia in an exciting critical stage of political interchange which means good opportunity for women to participate the move and they must be spotted and seized, In my candidacy I have few things that pushed me including.
1. In the recent 25 years Somalia’s women has been portrayed, beaten, killed and raped and that was anarchy the country has been suffering therefore I want to be the changing machine of that difficulties
2. Ending patriarchy era and campaigning for democracy, the last 25 years and before Somalia has been and still is more patriarchal state which means men are the dominant group in every sector of the government, democracy drivers are not in a place where women cannot play a similar ground with men.
3. Ending gender segregations , not only in Somalia where segregation is still remnant but parts of the third countries are still intact with it, my two month campaign I have departed for empowering young girl education have increased my appetite to present more larger option to make into action of what I have started to end.
From the past 25 years Somali women has been through my difficulties including home segregation, school segregation, rape cases has been too much, pre-mortem death and FGM, except those natural cases others have partially rooted the Somali culture and it’s because Somali traditional culture has been and still is the justice bench of those difficulties which means the state is yet moving a low speed for the formation of the gender equality.
As Somali politician women, advocate of women’s political participation and young girl education empowerment activist I have made new beginning to be a candidate of Somalia’s lower house MP for seeking our 30% quota, my candidacy will evoke the ambition of many other Somali women who have been in close door stage for their ambition to speed up.
And even 30% percent quota is not enough for our call of power sharing and gender equality but because of this critical stage we have sacrificed our partial share for men in order for the process, we recognized Somali traditional elders will find themselves difficulty of implementing a such long-called recent issue but for the close observance of the international community we made our confidence more stable.
My massage to all the concerned parties.
The election model took into consideration the bicameral system of parliament as envisaged in the Provisional Constitution 2012. The Lower house will consist of 275 MPs chosen along the traditional 4.5 model and the Regional States will appoint all the 54 members of the Upper House. 48 Members of the Upper House will be equally distributed among Somalia’s existing and emerging Federal Member States. The remaining 6 members will be distributed equally between Somaliland and Puntland in recognition of their political status and maturity according to the Somali Federal Government.
A continuing goal from the 2012 elections is the need to include women in the election process and to fulfill the 30% quota for their representation both in the Lower and Upper House. This quota was missed by a large margin in 2012 and will need a real push from all stakeholders and participants to bring to reality.
Therefore my message is clear; we have to learn from 2012 when such issue has been neglected deliberately by both traditional elders and international community on their watch, there is a need to realistically implement the 30% quota and the international community should conduct a very close follow up for the program, likewise in 2012 special committee should be allotted to follow the program.
This 30% quota should be made a legitimate article of the 2016 core election principles and I’m sure this will make successful of Somalia’s women political participation dream, if such role is neglected again the 50-50 principle by 2030 will not work and it will add another failure, as an advocate of Somali women political participation my whistle blow will be not be local but a further broader campaign. I believe that the only viable option for equitable participation of Somali women in public life is to agree and set up a quota system prescribed in a legislation tabled and passed before parliament before July 2016 to coincide with the August 2016 election. Such legislation should contain a provision for nominating women members of parliament if the number of women selected/elected falls short of the targeted number, therefore I’m calling the Somali federal government and international community to set up new legislations in order to make sure that such policies are manipulated correctly
My recommendations for re-correction
Currently we see the immature political free kicks being made but that’s not our intent notion to focus, the fact that Somalis today are discussing and preparing for elections which are more inclusive than in the past and that is a welcome progress. Democracy based on justice, fair representation and nationwide consensus will ensure Somalia leaves behind its dark past and accelerates further towards the path of stability, peace and progress. However, all these depend on the implementation of the proposed electoral model that includes the implementation of women’s 30% quota.
And for the successful implementation of the issue the following are vital.
- Women’s political representation and strategies regarding the 2016 election/selection should be called as consultations and forums should be held for persuasion of the program
- Engendering the constitutional review process that will focus on women’s political participation
- Critical legislative and policy interventions to advance women’s human rights.
- The Federal Government should come up with a fair formula that spells out women’s equitable representation in the 2016 elections/selections in line with the Garowe Principles, the Provisional Constitution of Somalia and Article 22 of the Istanbul Communiqué of February 2016
- The Federal Government should convene a stakeholders meeting that will bring together women leaders, parliamentarians, the government and CSOs for consultation on power sharing and representation by Somali women not later than july 2016.
· Now we learned that Garowe 1 and Garowe 2 were more political that women couldn’t utilize it therefore the recent 2016 should be more into action and politically free, we would like to remind the international community that our mind recalls the way we were outsmarted politically in 2012 and we will not allow this for a recurrent option
- We recommend the Federal Government and the international community, most particularly UNSOS, UNWOMEN and UNDP gender unit to consult with women on possible electoral models currently under revision and any accompanying implementation work-plans so that we can make informed contributions and possibly audit them on gender equity and make their quota implemented
- We urge the federal member states like Puntland to consult with women for the process and allocate their quota fairly possible, Puntland has been promoting women’s political participation and we are confident women’s quota will not be politicized
- I recognized the traditional elders has always been the main protocols of such elections and we recommend them to recognize the women’s role is very constructive mind, we as a women have always and still recognized the elders role, we respect them and we want them to be likewise to recognize our power and influence as a women.
- The Somali government and international community should set up new committee that are politically free who closely watch our quota is not fallen short on the targeted number
By Ifrah Abdi nur
Ifrah is a mother of three young girls, speaker general of Puntland women association, former UN staff, international and local organizations, advocate of Somali women political participation and activist of young girl education, she has recently announced her candidacy of lower house MP, Ifrah has departed a trip to Mogadishu and Kismayo two months back to make sure young girls in