Burhakaba, Bay, South West, Somalia –
Burhakaba District in the Bay Region of Somalia held a local election. An extensive election process, which span over several weeks, culminated in the selection of 21 city council members, comprising 9 female and 12 male representatives.
The electoral engagement of the Burhakaba communities, including the respected elders, played a pivotal role in shaping the composition of the city council.
Throughout the election, the presence of observers was notable within the election hall. Those included personnel from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Local Governmenment and Reconciliations of the South West State, the Finn Church Aid (FCA) representatives, the Presidential Advisor on decentralization, Ahmed Ali Gab, and various other officials who were present during the election’s conclusion.
Prolonged but fair
Although the elections followed an indirect approach, which some argue is not conducive to the democratization of the country, they still mark a significant step towards local representation. While it is acknowledged that elections should ideally occur within a shorter timeframe, encompassing typically a single day or two at maximum, it is essential to emphasize that this process has not been deemed unfair.
Nonetheless, the true essence of democratic governance lies in empowering individuals to voice their preferences through the voting process. In Somalia, hopes are that this can be an alternative means of removing individuals from office without resorting to force and violence.
Process launched by the President of SWS
The launch event of the lengthy district council formation process in Burhakaba witnessed the presence of Abdiaziz Hassan Mohamed Laftagaren, the President of Southwest State of Somalia, on June 11. The district stakeholders enthusiastically embraced this initiative, considering it a significant step towards promoting long-awaited decentralization in the region.
Recognizing that the district government had previously functioned as an exclusive institution, the introduction of the district council was hailed as a crucial opportunity to establish essential local representation.
“[The] Burhakaba population should take note of other districts such as Hudur, Barawe, Dinsoor and Bardale that have a well-functioning district administration,“ stated President Laftagaren during the launching ceremony.
Young female representation
Noteworthy is the age distribution among the elected representatives, both male and female. As previously mentioned, the city council now consists of 9 women and 12 men.
Interestingly, among the women, 6 fall within the age range of 20 to 30 years, whereas there is only one man in the same age bracket. The remaining 3 women belong to the second age group, ranging from 31 to 45 years old. No female representative falls within the third age group, which spans from 46 to 55 years old.
With that being said, the average age of the elected women is 22.3 years, while the average age of the elected men is nearly double at 41.8 years. The most common age group among the male representatives was 31 to 45 years old. The inclusion of younger generations in the district council signifies a positive shift, particularly in a country like Somalia that has traditionally been led by older men.