Somali Woman, Defying Odds, Runs For Top Spot In Next Month’s Polls
July 5, 2016 (GIN) – With the news of terror attacks, the departure of peacekeepers and the proposed eviction of thousands of Somali refugees in neighboring Kenya, it is easy to miss the news of the first woman candidate running to be Somalia’s next president in next month’s national poll.
Fadumo Dayib has overcome adversity before. She was the first child of 12 in her family to survive the preventable diseases that carried off her siblings. She was a refugee first in Kenya, then in Finland where she now lives.
But life in a western country gave her a new set of opportunities including a master’s degree from Harvard in Public Administration and one in Public Health. She’s been working on a Ph.D. at the University of Helsinki on women’s governmental participation and empowerment in post-conflict societies.
“If I continue sitting here in the west, in this comfortable place hoping that somebody will drop from the sky with magical solutions for Somalia, that day would never arrive. I will die in this place and my children will never have a country to come back to,” she told the writer Placide Magambo, in an extensive interview.
She said she sees opportunities where others seen endless ruin. “I see people who are proud to call themselves Somalis and who live a dignified existence. If given the opportunity, Somalia would be one of the best countries in Africa, if not in the world. We are a very creative people. We are business-minded people. We are people who can make customs out of stumps if given the opportunity.”
The terror group Al-Shabaab succeeds because the government fails to provide jobs and services, she said. “Then Al-Shabaab steps forward and tries to give the services that the government is supposed to give. They address socioeconomic issues which the government is unable to do and as long as they have this weapon over our heads they will continue to recruit young people, they will continue to recruit all the people, even women to continue destabilizing the country.”
Rejecting a military solution, she pledged to invite Al Shabaab to the peace table, provided they disarm, stop killing people, and renounce their affiliation with international terrorism.
“Once they do those three things then we will sit down with them and have a dialogue.”