By: Osman A.M.
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Bringing local women organizations advocating for minority rights under the auspices of the Voice of Somaliland Minority Women Organization-VOSOMWO, Human Rights activists held a function at Imperial Hotel in Hargeisa on Thursday.
The meeting whose theme was “Advancement of the civic and political participation of minority in Somaliland” under the facilitation of VOSOMWO a local NGO and funding from National Endowment for Democracy- NED.
Guests at the function included the Chairman of National Electoral Commission (NEC), leadership of the three (3) political parties, MPs, politicians from the Gaboye community & members of the public who were engaged in discussions on means and ways for:
“Promotion of Education and employment opportunities and political office for minority communities through advocacy with local councils, public agencies, private companies and policy makers in Somaliland
Notable speaker at the forum was Ms Faiza Abdilahi, the Director of VOSOMO who elaborated the reasons and importance of the meeting.
She emphasized that the meeting was a follow up to previous seminars that were all aimed at reserving special preference to women & children in public decision making bodies.
”We must devise a scheme of easing employment and education prospects for minorities and disadvantaged groups. We are all aware that there is a pending bill giving special treatment to minorities to ensure they compete in the political process with no undue advantage over major sect in the society” she told the gathering.
She reminded the participants that President Silanyo urged parliamentarians to expedite passage of legislative instrument empowering minorities, women and other disadvantage groups to consolidate political acumen.
Other speakers including Sultan Nassir and politician Mahad Osman Buri of the minority Gaboye tribe who also took the opportunity to unite members of the community to marshal support under the candidature of their preferred contestant in the parliamentary and presidential elections due this year.
Abdiqadir Iman Warsame, the Chairman of National Electoral Commission (NEC) urged participants to register as voters in the registration exercise that is to kick off in the coming days.
”Every citizen has the rights to vote as well as to be voted for if he is a contestant in an election. I therefore advise Gaboye community to acquire voter cards so that they can participate in active political process” summed up Iman.
Politicians affiliated to the three political parties including Yusuf Kaiser of UCID, Hussein Ibrahim of the ruling Kulmiye party and Fadumo Saeed of Wadani National party all urged participants to be united when making a political decision.
Emphasizing the error of the term “Minority Clan” Ms Fadumo Saeed asked the tribe to take pride in the lineage and start calling themselves Gaboye since it is a clan of honour just like any other in Somali speaking areas.
At the same time fiery woman politician Fadumo Saeed told the gathering that the administration of President Silanyo and ruling Kulmiye party was not serous on helping advance issues related to equitable access for the Gaboye clan.
“Why would the government combine minority clan’s and women empowerment together if it was serious” adding that defeat of the bill on availing women and minority clan a quota in parliamentary seats was as a result of the ruling Kulmiye party which controls fifty of the 82 members of Somaliland’s house of representatives.
Claiming that the Kulmiye administration was in actual fact undermining the promotion of minority clans in the country Ms Fadumo said that the highest ranking government official from Gaboye is the presidential advisor on minority issues.
Promising to surpass UDUB party Administration of President Dahir Rayale Kahin which had a deputy minister from the Gaboye clan Ms Fadumo Saeed who urged the tribe to join her Wadani party said that once in office the first ministerial appointment made shall be that of a Gaboye.