Mlambo-Ngcuka’s comments were made on Sunday in Baidoa, the interim
capital of Somalia’s South West State (SWS), at the start of a three-day
visit to the country, said UNSOM, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia.
Visiting as part of a delegation led by the Somalian Minister of
Women and Human Rights Development, Deqa Yasin, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka met
with the acting president of South West State, Hassan Hussein Mohamed,
cabinet ministers, female members of the SWS regional assembly and civil
There are 31 female legislators in South West State’s parliament,
more than in any of Somalia’s other states. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka
congratulated Mr. Mohamed for the high participation of women in the
parliament, whilst urging him to go further, saying “We expect you to do
even better in the future.”
Somalia is currently reviewing its constitution, ahead of federal
elections planned for 2020. The previous federal elections, in 2016,
were held under an indirect suffrage system, which a report from UNSOM,
released earlier this month, credited with the formation of a more
diverse Parliament: almost a quarter of those elected were women, up
from 14 per cent in 2012.
The report called for the 2020 elections to establish a system of
representation that is inclusive of all citizens, based on the one
person, one vote principle.
Speaking during Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s visit, Minister Yasin said: “We
can have an impact on the constitutional review process to make sure (a
future constitution) contains language that gives women opportunities in
a very specific way, so that girls and women will benefit in the
With the UN Official’s visit to Baidoa coinciding with World Humanitarian Day,
Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka took the opportunity to thank humanitarian workers in
the country for their sacrifices and their dedication to communities
who are targets of violent people and extremism.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been an estimated 74
incidents of violence affecting humanitarian personnel in Somalia,
resulting in the deaths of seven workers. A further 18 were abducted,
and six are still being held captive.
“We are there with them every step of the way,”
added Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka. “(We) call on all of those who work in the
humanitarian space to have targeted interventions to ensure that the
security of women and girls is addressed and their participation as
leaders and not just as victims is also enhanced.”
On arrival in the country on Saturday, the senior UN official met
with Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and Foreign Minister Ahmed Isse
Awad in the capital, Mogadishu, as well as with women representatives
from the business community, politics and civil society.