Somaliland President H.E. Muse Bihi Abdi got more votes than any of the other regional leaders15, nearly 50% of the voters who casted their votes of all Somaliland elections were women. But Somaliland has the lowest women representation in the region. In Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia, women are the chairperson of a political parties, and are on the decision-making table. For example, in December 201916, the eight political parties who founded the Prosperity Party of Ethiopia17, women were leading two of them, and also, they hold the highest position of state including the Head of State, the President of Supreme Court, etc.

In Djibouti, President Ismail Omar Geelle gave the women, more representation in his government, including the highest offices. In Somalia, Women have more influence in decision-making platforms, since they have more representation in the Parliament, leading different registered political parties, the National Electoral Commission, etc.

Somaliland governments and political party leaders promised many times to increase the women representation in both elected offices and nominated positions. Presidential candidates signed commitment letters promising 30% women representation in the government.

The CPA’s January 2020 report about women’s political participation shows that the President of Somaliland nominated18 214 positions, only 6% of them were female, while all other 94% were male. In other words, Somaliland has 613 elected or presidential nominated offices, only 16 of them are women, while the remaining 597 are men. Nearly 323 elected local councilors, only 9 of them are female, while there is no single female mayor or governor in the country. That above data indicates how women are marginalized in Somaliland decision making platforms despite their attempts to be part of the process.

Women have been struggling their rights of political participation since the first election in 2002, and until now no major break-through is made so far. Reasons are many, however two major deterrence factors are the existence of clan-based election system and the dynamics of clan power sharing. Secondly, the Somali culture which believes that women cannot take up positions of leadership. The continued absence of women in the decision making would undermine inclusive governance and the fairness of participation by all concerned citizens.

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