Somaliland: Legislators Deny Women and Minorities Access to Political Power

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Hon Baar Saed  one of two women MPsBy: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Women and minority clans will not have the opportunity to access political seats through nomination.

Members of Parliament’s lower house of representative have voted against allocating women and members of minority clans parliamentary and local council seats through a quota system.

During the start of the 19 session of the house, which had a quorum of 43 out of a membership of 82 and chaired by deputy speaker Hon Bashe Mohamed Farah, the MPs voted out proposed amendments to section 5 and 6 of election law #20.

The objectives of the law that has been reject thrice by the legislators entailed legalizing equality in political life and the decision making process by availing them 10% of seats in local councils and the two houses of parliament of Guurti and representatives respectively in addition to each political party allocating them 10% of candidacy at council and parliament elections.

During voting the draft law was rejected after 30 MPs voted No and 8 voted yes while 4 abstained thus permanently throwing out much anticipated gender and clan equality within the political decision making process.

Though women organizations had strenuously campaigned for approval of the law by the legislators who had rejected it a couple of times in the past, the only recourse left is to acquire the seats through the election process.

The law rejected by legislators was submitted to parliament by president Silanyo after a committee, he the president, had appointed collected views all over the country. According to the committee’s report, which was the basis for the draft law a majority of Somalilanders, were pro availing women and minority clans nominated seats.

According to president Silanyo’s draft law that members of parliament seem to have been not only afraid of approving but debating as well, women and minority clans would have been allocated a number of nominated seats from local councils to Guurti-elders and House of representatives-MPs, the two houses of parliament respectively. The Guurti elders are yet to act on the draft as it is still in the lower house.

The MPs approval to sections 5 and 6 of the draft law would have seen women access political office through a quota system as follows:

Section 5:

1. Share of Women in Local councils by grade

I. Local councils- Grade A+ 4 members

II. Local councils-Grade A 3 members

III. Local councils- Grade B 2 members

IV. Local councils –Grade C 1 member

2. Share of women in Parliament’s House of Representatives through nomination will be 10% to be distributed regionally as follows:

I. Maroodi Jeeh region 2 MPs

ii. Togdheer region 2 MPs

iii. Awdal region 1 MP

iv. Sanaag region 1 MP

V. Sahil Region 1 MP

vi. Sool region 1 MP

3. Share of women in Parliament’s House of Representatives through nomination will be 10% to be distributed regionally similarly to the house of representative.

While this might seem very meager percentages compared to other developed or developing countries attainment in Somaliland will be a milestone.

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