By Abu-Jahlil Astrid Chacha (For MCJ)
She is truly charismatic, can be seen as a hero in her highly misogynistic nation. As a heath-care specialist graduated in Finland, she is the first woman ever to run in October 2016 for Somali presidency in Eastern Africa in front of 17 men including the president in power Hassan Cheick Mohamed. She took the decision to retire not definitely just for a while in order to plan her conquering strategy for next 2020 challenge. She explained to USA journal“ Washington Post” that she could not afford the conditions of the elections. Scheduled for October 2016, the elections date had been postponed for the third time, to February 2017. The government justified this postponement by the fact that the election process for delegates was not closed. Answering to “ Washington Post ”, she denounced vehemently the “chocking level of corruption” in Somalia. She informed by this way the international opinion about how the Somali president is elected. It’s a clan-based selection not a one-vote, one person election system. The tribal elders of the country choose 14,000 delegates to be the national assembly which elects the president. Fadumo said she would run only in a democratic, one person-one vote system trough universal suffrage. She qualified the Somali election process as apartheid segregating clans on the base of race and ethnic. She refused to legitimize a system running in it. She argued also that even the international community blame this process as a stepping stone to democracy.“How long will we keep this monster on life support?” , “It was very similar to what my Finnish colleagues were telling me, ‘you came to our country to take our jobs’. Now I was being told by Somali colleagues, ‘you came back to Somalia to take our jobs’. So where was I to go? I was stuck in the middle. Where did I belong?” She complained.
She revealed to have seen people in Somali paying $1,3 millions for a senatorial seat in a country where 73% of the population is living on less than $2 a day. “It shook me to my core”. “I knew the election was very corrupt. Anyone who is competent and qualified … they are never going to win. If you are not corrupt you will not get into the system. I will never pay one cent to anyone so the likelihood of me winning is non-existent”.
She said the current head of state is using state resources to finance its campaign to stay unconstitutionally in presidential office. She disagreed the federal election commission president to be close friend to the head of state. She accused in it a fraud plan.
Fadumo never hid that she receives permanently death threats and fears for her safety. “I don’t have security, and of course I am worried about what will happen to me and how it will happen to me,” she said. “Because frankly, it’s not going to be someone just shooting me in the head — I wish it were that easy. It will probably be horrible things happening to me, just to send a very strong message to Somali women to tell them to continue to stay in their homes. I worry about this, but I am not scared, and it will not stop me from doing what I’m doing.” She feels these death threats as the recognition of her ability to instigate change, as “a compliment”.
Fadumo never hid that she receives permanently death threats and fears for her safety.
She believes her projects and ideas as an possible alternative for Somali development are being spread and well understood by 11 millions Somali and worldwide. She launched the debate of women status in Somali. She benefits a large support of Somalis. “A lot of Somalis are in shock because I appeared out of nowhere but managed to challenge all those in power … and now everyone inside the country knows who I am.”
She has a full consciousness of the difficulties on her road to the presidential house. She remains confident “I will work on ensuring we can have democratic elections in 2020. I am in it for the long run.” She predicted “In 2020 we will have democratic elections and then … we will win ”.
Somalia is one of the poorest countries of the planet, destroyed by decades of conflict. Infrastructure is in ruin and population in unhappy life standard. In 2012, year of hope to bring back peace in the country, the eastern african movement Al-Shabbab, a salafist jihadist fundamentalist group of 9, 000 militants entered in insurgency against central government. Controlling a few rural areas after leaving major cities, it promised to disrupt the election process and bombed recently Mugadisho the capital despite of the government soldiers and 22,000 troops from nearby countries securing the major towns. Fadumo will have to solve efficiently the Al-Shabbab insurgency.
Many political analysts are pessimistic to see Somali making deep changes with elections.
Fadumo‘s story is eloquent. Before she born in Kenya, her mother had given birth in Somalia to eleven kids who all died from curable sickness. The collapse of Siad Barre in 1969 had complicated life for millions of Somalis. Looking for a better life, her mother went to Kenya. Fadumo grew up there. Kenyan authorities come to refuse Somali refugees. Fadumo and her mother returned to Somalia. When 1990 civil war explosed, she could run away to Moscou with her family by one army flight with the money her mother collected by selling all the family material goods. In Moscou, people help them to reach Finland where she got a new life. She learnt to read and write at age 11, got a nurse graduation, went to university and got many masters, a master’s degree from Harvard and various degrees in public health. She worked as a health-care specialist for the United Nations, UNICEF in the north of Somalia for a anti female genital cutting and anti HIV program. The insecurity in the region stopped the program and her team has been transfered to Liberia where she met with President Sirleaf Johnson who inspired her as a woman engaged can transform her country. She then aims to be head of state of her country to take care of her homeland people, to end FMG/C female genital mutilation / cutting she had been victim of. She wants to end the killings and corruption to lead Somalia towards prosperity, stability instead of staying in the privileges of European life. “All I want is for my people to reach their full potential and exercise their constitutional rights”, “ I want to be in an environment where you don’t hear gunfire, girls go to school, women are working, people feel happy ”, she told to the south African newspaper “ The Guardian ”.
She wants Somalia to show to the world a good example of “correct ” islam as peaceful religion to deny islamophobia.
She chose to settle down her headquarters in Nairobi ( Kenya ), raise her campaign funds by crowfunding, collecting supporters money through Internet to prepare her battle for 2020 presidential elections in Somali. She claimed to “The Guardian“ : “ I have moved to Somalia, and I am setting up a base here in Kenya. There is no going back to Finland in the next few years. I am going to be involved in Somali politics one way or the other. I’m going to work on corruption, to continue being vocal, and to continue to challenge inequities in our societies. I am in the process of bringing my two younger children here so I can have peace of mind”. She could say “I have a calling and purpose in this world, We must stand and speak up against injustices, my family gets that, it’s not easy but this is who I am. If loving my land means I will die, so be it.”
Fadumo, 44 years old is married. She has four children. She is pursing a Ph D.