Somaliland: Women Urge MPs to Reconsider Decision on Election law

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women are majority voters/fileBy: Yusuf M Hasan

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Women are outraged against the rejection of an election law amendment by parliament.

At the opening session of the 19th sitting of the House of Representatives, legislators voted against an amendment to election law #20 that the house has repeatedly thrown out of the house.

Women leaders who held a press conference in Hargeisa immediately news of the rejection become public said the lower house of parliament legislators have proved their distaste for sharing power with women.

Those in attendance at the press conference held at the offices of the Nagaad Umbrella Organization for Women included the association of women parliamentarians, Human and women rights activist as well as heads of various women organizations that fall under Nagaad.

Nagaad Chairperson Ms Kaltun Sheikh Hasan informed that her umbrella organization and women in general would not accept the legislator’s decision meekly.

While wondering what the legislators are afraid by approving the inclusion of five nominated women and minority clans in their ranks, urged them to reconsider their decision as a matter of national priority.

Hon Baar Saeed one of the two members of the women parliamentarians association revealed that the rejection of the amendment by her fellow legislators was a public declaration disapproval for her relentless campaign for inclusion of women in the decision making process.

“I once again appeal to my honourable colleagues to reconsider their decision and approve the women quota amendment,” said Hon Baar Saeed

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 in these levels

I. Local councils- Grades a+, A, B & C

2. Share of women in Parliament’s House of Representatives per region, Maroodi Jeeh region 2 MPs, Togdheer region 2 MPs, Awdal region 1 MP, Sanaag region 1 MP, Sahil Region 1 MP, Sool region 1 MP

3. Share of women in Parliament’s House of Representatives through nomination would have been the same as with the house of representative above

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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