The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has pledged support to Somali women in their quest for gender parity.
The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Caetano Madeira, encouraged women to aim higher and redouble their efforts in advocating for women’s greater participation in decision-making.
“As you continue to push for the 30-percent representation, AMISOM, the African Union will be with you because your victory is certain,” the SRCC told women participants during a one-day national conference, held in Mogadishu on Thursday.
The women launched a national campaign dubbed ‘All Women’s Campaign’, an advocacy movement aimed at realizing the 30-percent quota , which guarantees women’s seats are reserved in parliament.
Somali President H.E Hassan Sheikh Mohamud presided over the launch of the campaign, which will see to it that a database for female candidates is set up. The campaign will mobilise women to register for elective positions and use lobbyists to sensitize clan elders on the critical role women play in decision making.
“You cannot escape the 30 percent quota for women by saying we are from so and so clan and we have only one or two seats. If you have two seats in your sub-clan, the threshold will be raised to the upper clan level. Amongst that representation, the 30 per cent reserved seats for women will be realized. If that does not solve the problem, a resolution mechanism has been put in place. All those eventualities have been contemplated and prepared for,” President Mohamud explained.
Earlier, the Federal Minister of Women and Human Rights Development Ms. Zahra Mohamed Ali Samatar said women were unsure of the exact seats allocated to them under the 30 per cent quota. “We have got few women candidates in this conference since most of them have gone to their constituencies. But they are anxiously waiting to hear which seats they will contest for. Mr President, this year we want 30 per cent women’s quota, and God willing, in the coming years, women will be able to vie for the seat of Speaker of Parliament,” Minister Samatar stated.
Somali President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud noted that 81 or more members in the next parliament will be women.
“What you need to do now is to make sure that all regional presidents and all the elders recognize that; and that the 30 per cent representation which you have been fighting for is something you deserve,” SRCC Madeira advised the women.
The one-day national conference for women was attended by a section of women parliamentary aspirants from the regional administrations of Galmudug, South West, Puntland and Jubbaland and representatives of the civil society.
AMISOM has been at the forefront in advocating for the women’s rights in Somalia and has helped the Federal Government in developing policy documents on gender equality.