Somaliland women protest exclusion, push for affirmative action

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Women representatives in Somaliland have decried the exclusion of women in the management of the country’s public affairs noting that despite promises for affirmative action, very little has been realized.

The representatives who organized a national conference in Hargeisa to champion for the interests of women Thursday said despite many years of election circles and formation of subsequent government, women have hardly been sighted in any government role.

“This conference is a movement of Somaliland women which follows the conspicuous absence of women in various sectors including politics. Despite pledges by President Bihi and all political parties to allot 30% for women, nothing has been realized,” said Lul Hassan Matan, one of the participants in the conference.

Ms. Matan said only two women were appointed ministers, one deputy minister, one director general and one MP. Only Owdal, Laas-Anod and Eerigaabo towns have women representatives, Ms. Matan told Goobjoog News. To drive home our point, Ms. Matan said, we had to invite the President to attend the meeting.

Somaliland bicameral parliament has 164 legislators with an equal number in both the House of Representatives and the Upper House (Guurti).

Another participant, Fa’isa Ow Ali Yusuf said the Movement would push forward its course to ensure women are adequately included in both elected and appointive positions.

“The women should be part of the politics of either the parliament, the ministries, the directors or local government because they are the cornerstone of the society. We must get women representatives so that they can effectively fight for the rights of other women and be involved in the decision making process of our country.”

President Muse Bihi was elected November 2017 replacing then leader Ahmed Silanyo. There has been no female presidential candidate in Somaliland since it declared its independence from Somalia in 1991.

The electoral commission announced last week further delay of parliamentary and civic elections which had been slated for March 2019 citing lack of adequate preparation.

President Bihi, Family Minister Ms. Hinda Gandi and her interior counterpart Mohamed Ahmed all in attendance pledge to fulfill concerns raised by the women