By Shukri Said

The coronavirus pandemic that has swept across the world since the beginning of 2020 has put all states to the test.  Some reacted with positive results, limiting deaths and the rate of infections, others less so. Among the countries that  have best tackled the pandemic, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Germany stood out.  These seven countries have one thing in common: they are all ruled by women. In Iceland, Mrs. Katrín Jakobsdóttir  governs; in Finland Ms. Sanna Marin; in Norway, Ms. Erna Solberg; in Denmark Ms. Mette Frederiksen; Taiwan is
 chaired by Ms. Tsai Ing-wen; New Zealand by Mrs. Jacinda Ardern and Germany by stainless Angela Merkel.

Managing the pandemic crisis does not seem like a simple coincidence considering that women leaders in the world are just 7% of the total. Yet, female leaders have demonstrated a degree of competence under challenging and unprecedented condition, and got the job done. To fully grasp why women leaders have managed to combat the spread of the disease, researchers have found that women leaders have reacted proactively than their male counterparts. As the researcher’s findings further argue the COVID mortality rate were lower in countries led by women and, to some degree, this may be explained by the effective and coordinated policy responses implemented by women leaders. Despite women leaders rising to the challenge, as Antonio Polito recalled in an article published in the Corriere Della Sera on 15th April 2020, it is not enough to have a female leader in charge to do better job – for example, Belgium which is governed by Ms. Sophie Wilmes, has been one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. It is also fair to state that it is too early to know the true economic and human damage of the virus, until there is reliable data. Having said this, Donald Trump’s United States, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, Xi Jinping’s China, Bolzonaro’s Brazil, Narendra Modi’s India, Erdogan’s Turkey are certainly among the countries most affected by COVID-19.

It is not very clear why women in government have excelled well in the pandemic battle than the “alpha” males of world politics. Undoubtedly, it is arguable that the health structures already in place in these countries have contributed to their response to curb the scourge of the virus, but the speed of early lock down and the their test and trace approach to the pandemic is certainly attributable to their effective strategy in fighting the disease. It can, therefore, be concluded that when the situation becomes “really complex”, it is statistically better to rely on women.

Somalia has also been in a “truly complex” situation for decades and it is therefore not clear why we are yet to see a female Somali Prime Minister to help rid the country out of its security, health and economic woes, as this position remains vacant since the ouster of former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khayre on 25 July 2020.

Since Somalia had overcome the transition phase, it has remained for years in a limbo between security and civil war, destruction and reconstruction, 4.5 elections and the culmination for universal suffrage, quest for development, public service delivery, and political stability. Recurrent droughts had also inflicted damages on livestock and livelihoods of Somali pastoralist communities. In short, the country has been plighted by constant struggle between war and peace.

It has proved impossible that an army trained for years by some of the best experts in the world (and Italy knows something about it) and supported by American drones to dislodge the sizable army of Al-Shabaab whose stronghold is well-known and perfectly demarcated areas of the country?

It is never possible for a road to be asphalted in Mogadishu without providing for a sewer suitable for the discharge of rainwater so that, in the rainy season, it becomes a torrent that carries with it the few resources that the people manage to scrape together with many sacrifices?

Is it ever possible that the Halane complex, which houses the structures of the United Nations, the EU, and the African Union in Mogadishu, as well as the embassies of countries including the US and the UK, be reduced to an open landfill with no waste collection facilities?

These are not new problems, suddenly popping up like the coronavirus. Yet, men have not thus far managed to deal with these very serious problems, even though they have been selected up to the highest offices in the country and often through dubious and tainted processes. Therefore, it can be argued that despite male domination in Somali politics, they have not been able to deliver for their mandated duties, and therefore, the long practiced political culture of overlooking capable Somali women for top government roles is indeed a gender problem/stereotype that we as a society need to come over.

There is no shortage of female talent suitable for the office of PM in Somalia. Among the many particularly competent figures, the name of Asha Hagi Elmi stands out who championed women voice and continue to play a vital role in bringing about a genuine, all-inclusive and serious reconciliation among Somalis.

Also of note is Yussur Abrar. During her career, she was Vice President at CitiGroup, as well as Vice President of Credit Risk Management at the American International Group in New York City. Abrar is also the founder and president of Warsun International Communications Corp. From September to November 2013, with brief stint, she was governor of the Central Bank of Somalia.

Also worth mentioning is Halima Ibrahim Isamail, known as “Halima Yarey”, Chairlady of the Electoral Commission of the Federal Republic of Somalia. The plethora of capabale Somali women talent include, current Minister of Health, Fawziya Abikar.

These four committed bright Somali women are just examples of the limitless pool of female talent at our country’s disposal, who I am sure if given chance would excel in their job as a premier.

So let’s try this time with a female premier!