Let’s forget the chaos, and celebrate the good from parliamentary polls
EDITORIAL- At last, Somalia’s winding parliamentary elections have come to a close. And we are excited because it doesn’t just mark an end to a horrid chapter in our history; it has cracked the ceiling for more positive things to come.
After months of enduring uncertainties, the bicameral federal parliament finally managed to put its leadership in place, electing both speakers and their deputies despite mounted bids to disrupt a smooth process from some operatives of outgoing President Mohamed Farmaajo.
But the real excitement is just how these parliamentary polls cracked some necessary ceilings.
In electing Ms. Sadia Yasin Haji Samatar as its first deputy speaker, it brought us a gift we had yearned for.
This election was supposed to produce at least 30 percent of legislators as women. It didn’t succeed, given the actual power rested with federal state presidents in nominating who runs and against whom. But Ms. Samatar’s ascend is acceptable in Somalia, where women politicians face more threats than opportunities to clinch leadership seats.
The parliamentary polls may have dragged on, even angered many people who were tired of its shenanigans. But by allowing a woman, perhaps the legislature is showing other arms of government that we need to involve everyone in our leadership. Parliament has demonstrated that women, just as much as men, will need to get involved in our state's rebuilding. And the lesson is that it cannot happen if some people try to undercut a legal process.
Here is why Ms. Samatar’s ascend is more appealing. She became the first female to be elected to the top leadership of one of the legislative chambers in a largely patriarchal Somali society.
And she garnered a resounding victory: 137 votes against Mr. Mohamed Ali Omar Ananug.
That is the first signal that women will now be central to decisions, especially since the next parliament must draw the constitution and a legal framework for future elections.
With her involved and other female legislators, there is little chance a misogynistic law should be allowed.
It is no wonder everyone thinks Somalia has just turned a leaf over its chaotic elections. This is why we will forget all the underhand bids, all the illegal maneuvers to extend our stay in power, and all the security breaches that were meant to discourage a process so needed in the country.
We will forget but still learn from it, the delays that have meant the government of the day lost most of its mandate and instead hang around everyone’s nose like a bad smell.
We hope Ms. Samatar will work with colleagues and the veteran politicians elected speakers of both houses to ensure the following steps follow a standard procedure.