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Somali women need 30% quota but Islamic leader refuses

The presidential election in Somalia will held on 8 February, and the president will elect 329 member of the house, so there are mismanagement about how the selecting the MPs.  Somali women are asking for representation but they say they  have no hope.

Press statements from the religious authority that brings together respected Somali religious scholars has warned the government against advocating for women in politics, saying it is dangerous and against Islamic religious ethics.

“The Somali religious council cautions the nation against  a so-called quota of women in politics, it is  non-Muslim driven agenda that will lead to disintegration of  family,” said part of the statement.

“The Somali religious council calls upon the people to respect the promise trusted upon them by their religion by ensuringt they vote for moral and God-fearing candidates and not drug addicts or dealers.

The council also warned tribal elders tasked to select members of parliament that the so-called quota of women in politics is neither religious nor democratic but darkness.

According to what Somalia’s national leaders agreed to before MP election after conclusion of National leadership Forum, 30% of the 14,025 delegates who will elect members of the Lower House must  be female and 50% of candidates for the Upper House seats must be female.

To ensure the 30% quota becomes the more feasible, the NLF agreed that each of the four major clans in Somalia will be required to produce 18 female members for the Lower House while the smaller clans grouped as 0.5 will be allotted 9 seats.

A lobbying conference for affirmative action for Somali women was held in Mogadishu on 25 August, to push for concrete action on the reservation of 30 %  seats for  women parliamentarians.

The ongoing parliamentary elections in Somalia contravene the rules about women’s representation, because they are still looking for the 30% from  the regional leaders and central governments .

Hundreds of Somali women on Saturday held demonstrations demanding their quota in political participation in the upcoming general elections.

The women, drawn from civil societies, women organisations,  federal lawmakers, politicians and Banadir Regional administration, gathered at Daljirka Dahsoon Square in Mogadishu.

The main issue is that women need 30% of representation in the political system and Islamic leaders are against it and say it’s not valid. But the women are still taking part the election and have been elected as senators and MPs.  A prominent woman named Fadumo Dayib is running for president of Somalia, and that is another controversial issues between Islamic leaders and women.

Somalia’s Federal Minister for Women and Human Rights Development Hon. Zahra Mohamed Ali Samatar said women should not accept being shortchanged by  the country’s political leadership and urged Somali people to support the women’s cause.

“We have promises, but we want to see the allocation of the 30% quota in a legal document. And we demand to know who will be responsible should we miss our share. It is simple.  Women deserve their quota and they have participated in the process. We appeal to the National leadership and the traditional elders to make sure women get their 30% representation,” Minister Zahra said.

The women received support from a religious scholar, Sheikh Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, who said both genders deserve equal treatment.

“I appreciate women. They too have rights. They have rights to live, rights to education, rights to opinion, rights to marriage, rights to vote and many more that we cannot summarize here. They have got many rights just as men and even more.” Sheikh Mohamed remarked.

Fouzia Yusuf  Aadan, a federal MP, said the 30% quota given to Somali women is a great achievement but cultural obstacles to political equality remain a challenge. She called on all Somalis to support the fight for gender equality.

Written by Hassan Istiila

Twitter: @Hassanistiila