Somalia could attain the minimum quota for women in political leadership ahead of Kenya when it heads to the polls next month.
A national leadership forum last week agreed to ensure at least 30 per cent of elective seats in Parliament go to women.
It was a historic decision that the international community says would enable the country stand on its feet following two decades of violence.
“Our view on the basis of global experience...is that women’s participation in leadership makes politics better,” Mr Michael Keating, the UN representative to Somalia, said.
“They tend to be better at raising issues of national concern while men focus on the power of their communities.”
The forum followed a meeting in Mogadishu between President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and representatives of the country’s six administrative regions.
It was attended by the Speaker of the Federal Parliament Mohammed Osman Jawari, PM Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke, Deputy PM Mohamed Omar Arte, the President of Puntland Abdiweli Mohamed Ali Gaas, Jubbaland leader Ahmed Mohamed Islaam, South Western President Sharif Hassan Sheikh Adan and the Vice President of Galmudug Mohamed Hashi Abdi.
“The Forum urges traditional elders and electoral colleges to ensure...30 per cent of the elected members of the House of the People should be women,” a communique released after the meeting said.
“Each of the four main clans should have 18 elected women MPs…The fifth clan should have nine elected women MPs. Women candidates will be charged half the contesting fee.”
MORE WOMEN TO JOIN PARLIAMENT
Male candidates for parliamentary seat will pay $5,000. Presidential candidates pay $10,000.
If implemented, Somalia could see up to 81 women join parliament. Kenya has 68 or 19 per cent of the representatives.
Kenya failed to meet two deadline meant to enact a law that would ensure a third of elective positions went to women.
Somalia was to hold elections at the end of August but postponed it following failure to agree on the election formula.
Last week, the country’s ambassador to Kenya Gamal Hassan told the Nation that the technical and logistical issues had been settled.”
“Somalia is turning the corner. Elections will take place as scheduled,” Mr Hassan said.
“Security will be provided by Amisom (African Union Mission in Somalia) and our national forces.”
The international community had warned against more delays. US Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Nairobi to discuss Somalia’s future with regional leaders under the Intergovernmental Authority on Development.
Igad is expected to hold a presidential summit next month in Mogadishu, a first in Somalia’s history.
FIVE SMALLER CLANS
Somalia’s elections will, however, be different. Last week, the Federal Indirect Electoral Implementation Team published dates for elections. The presidential poll will be on October 30.
Clan elders will decide the 275 representatives from the six regions. The elders will nominate 51 people from every district who will then assemble from September 24 to October 10 to elect the MPs. A third of these delegates will be women.
The adoption of a collegiate system that combines the traditional clan-based system and geographical voting in electing members of the Upper House was agreed on.
It means representatives in the Lower House, also known as House of the People, will be elected based on the four main clans and five smaller clans of Darod, Dir, Hawiye and Isaaq who will each have 61 slots to fill as minority clans get 31 seats.
The Upper House will elect leaders based on the six regions. But leaders from these regions will to devise a formula to distribute the seats in a balanced manner.
The new system means that elected representatives from these regions would later converge on capital Mogadishu to elect the country’s president on October 30.