Federal state bosses set for kingmaker role in Somalia’s presidential election

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Somalia is putting on a brave face and promising a transparent election, even as the first Senate polls in the three federal states elicit old problems for the country.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Hussein Roble promised what he called a “peaceful and transparent” election, after finally resolving a dispute over who should conduct elections for Somaliland representatives.

That solution, which means that the region’s appointed electoral committee can go ahead and plan for Senate elections, was, however, only half the solution elections in Jubbaland and South West have elicited protests of unfairness, with allegations of the federal state presidents playing king makers.

The challenge, some observers and Somali politicians admitted this week, is whether the country can hold indirect but fair elections, while also fulfilling the 30 percent quota for women.

Mr Roble has already appointed “goodwill” gender ambassadors to travel across the country to preach gender equality. Women, however, say the problem is systemic.

Zahra Haji Khalif, a women’s rights activist in Mogadishu, told The East African that Somalia’s decision making is male-oriented contributing to women’s poor participation. “Our lineage is patriarchal and that renders women’s participation in clan-based and power sharing politics null,” said Ms Khalif.

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