MOGADISHU (Halbeeg News)-The newly elected President Said Abdullahi Deni unveiled his 48-member cabinet on Sunday, and like his predecessor, Abdiweli Ali Gaas, he kept women at bay with only three female ministers in the list.
The president pre-election pledges were to increase women representation his government, but Sunday’ début of ministers speaks volumes.
Somalia’s 2012 provisional constitution article 3.5 states: “Women must be included, in an effective way, in all national institutions, in particular, all elected and appointed positions across the three branches of government and in independent national commissions.”
The Puntland regional state didn’t follow that provision. The political leadership of the women has remained significantly low since the establishment of the state in 1998.
The state selections committee records indicate that between 1998-2019 two female MPs were selected and they serve from 2014-19 and currently Puntland has one female MP.
Nima Abdi Karshe is the only female member of the regional parliament consisting of 66 assembly member that was elected in January.
Speaking to Radio Ergo, she said: “When I decided to become a member of the parliament, I faced many challenges even though I had the support of elders.”
She added that the limited representation of women in parliament made it challenging to champion for the cause of women and girls especially in regards to pushing for progressive legislation.
“I would have been happy if there were five or six female MPs in the assembly so that we could form a team that can champion for particular causes or take a position on matters arising in the assembly.”
According to Somali National Leadership Forum (NLF) resolution in 2017, 30% of the seats of the house of the people and upper house was exclusively reserved for women.
Although the quota system for women had stiff challenges from clan elders, currently 24% of the federal parliament members are women.
Though the 30% quota is not a legal provision, campaigns from local and international stakeholders ensured this target was met.
The 2016/17 electoral results on women representation was a remarkable increase from the previous electoral circle. A similar agreement in 2012 produced only 14% of women in the federal parliament which was then a single chamber house.
The federal parliament needs to enact legislation to secure the 30% seats for women in government institutions whether it is elected or appointed positions.