The Women's Political Forum on Somalia's 2020/ 2021 Elections, held between 21 to 22 October 2020 at the Royal Palace Hotel in Mogadishu was part of EISA's overall "Support Towards A Democratic, Unified and Peaceful Somalia" (STAND UP SOMALIA) programme. The STAND UP SOMALIA programme commenced in January of 2019 and focuses on women and youth in order to encourage gender mainstreaming amongst stakeholders as well as to expose the Somali youth to political processes.
The objective of the forum was to ensure that women leaders and participants across the country work cohesively for a common goal in shaping their political agenda prior to the 2020/ 2021 elections.
The overall objective of the workshop is to reemphasize the goal of 30 percent women representation in political office. To this end, the workshop mapped out strategies for attaining this minimum of 30 percent representation in the Somali parliament.
The Forum was attended by a wide variety of stakeholders including:
- Female MPs from both Houses of Somalia's Parliament.
- Chairperson of the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC).
- Various women's organisations.
- Representatives from FMS's.
- Representatives from Civil Society Organisations, busines women, academics and youth representatives.
Attendees of the Forum reaffirmed their commitment to promoting women's representation and participation in the upcoming 2020/ 2021 elections through the following:
- Commending the Article 5 agreement reached by the Federal Government as well as Federal member States on 17 September 2020 that clearly affirms the preservation of 30 percent of seats for women MPs.
- Reaffirming the fact that women will be running for seats in both houses of Parliament and through that, strengthen their role in rebuilding the nation through their active involvement in all levels of the political processes and decision-making.
- Agreement on establishing an Advocacy and Monitoring Committee at both the federal and member states levels tasked with ensuring the realization of the minimum 30 percent quota in the upcoming elections.
- With regards to indirect elections, the formula used in the 2016, where one in three parliamentary seats be reserved for women be applied in the upcoming 2020/2021 elections so as to secure the 30 percent seat for women.
- Lobby authorities to consider the severe effects COVID-19 has had on the Somali economy, and thus, to reduce registration fees for both male and female candidates in order to ensure that qualified candidates are not excluded.
- Emphasize the importance of ensuring at least 30 percent percent of delegates who will be electing members of both houses be women.
- Continue to work to ensure equal opportunities are granted to both men and women candidates at both the Federal and State levels, in full recognition of the unique challenges women face.
- Encourage election management authorities to observe agreed upon electoral codes as well as Somali religious leaders to publicly denounce bribery and corruption during the elections.
- Agree to pool resources in order to create a fund that will support aspiring women leaders aiming to take part in the elections.
More information on the STAND UP SOMALIA programme can be accessed here.