We all have certain expectations for everything, and these expectations may be disliked but always recognized at all levels, especially when it comes to presidential elections. You know it’s rare when you find a Muslim woman as the head of State. That is almost impossible especially in Somalia. However, there is always hope and Fadumo Dayib has that hope.
Fadumo Dayib’s Story: a Special President in the History of Somalia
Dayib was born in Kenya, and is the daughter of Somali parents. Her mother travelled to the neighbouring country to seek better medical treatment after 11 siblings died of preventable disease. Dayib, the 12th, survived. Expelled from Kenya in 1989, the family tried to remake their lives in Mogadishu. Then came the collapse of the Siad Barre regime and civil war. As Somalia slid into civil war almost 26 years ago, Fadumo’s family in Mogadishu sold everything to send the teenage girl to safety overseas. The 18-year-old arrived in northern Europe as a penniless and poorly educated asylum seeker. Now an expert in public health and an award-winning activist, Fadumo Dayib hopes to return to her homeland to end the killing and corruption and help lead Somalia towards prosperity and stability.
In Finland, Dayib studied as a critical care nurse, trained health specialists for the United Nations and gained a doctorate. She also works with the private sector on employment for refugees and won a fellowship to Harvard University to study public administration.
During a talk with Dayib during the last few days of the fall semester at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) in 2015, Dayib discussed her visions for Somalia and the change she wants to make in leading the nation as its first elected female president.
“Even if I am a dreamer, I also have the skills and ability to put them into concrete action. That is why I’m here today,” she said about being at HKS. “It’s the same ambition, motivation, belief and hope that I am taking to Somalia,” Dayib expressed.
The 2016 Presidential Elections in Somalia Weren’t Completely a Losing Round for Her
There are 18 candidates for the presidency, including the incumbent, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, a former academic and activist who has been in power since 2012. Dayib is the only woman.
There is the possibility of winning, which is nearly zero, but her campaign has already had an impact: raising her profile, prompting a broader discussion about women in Somalia, and, according to the candidate, showing the country’s 11 million inhabitants that there is an alternative to the existing political elite.
“In 2020 we will have democratic elections and then … we will win,” Dayib said. “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.”
And from her words she obviously possesses a strong determination and will. This may help in making her a President for Somalia in this very difficult situation. Dayib also said that she has had “profound” educational experiences as a fellow in the Mid-Career Master in Public Administration Edward S. Mason Program, a training ground for leaders from developing, newly industrialized and transitional economy countries. She prepared herself well to be a good president for the 2020 election and we are all waiting impatiently to end the civil war.
We want to witness the Renaissance of Somalia by first Muslim woman as a President in Somali history.
This article was written by Samer Tarek.