Somali youth urged to take part in electoral process

Mogadishu, 13 September 2019 – The Somali Federal Minister of Youth and Sports has encouraged the youth to play a role in the country’s decision making processes by participating in preparations for the upcoming elections. Somalia is preparing for a “one person, one vote” election in 2020/2021.

Minister Khadija Mohamed Diriye said this during an event in Mogadishu, organised by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), to mark Africa Peace Day on Thursday.

She told the youth participants that her ministry was engaged in the ongoing pre-election processes to review the federal constitution and electoral law ahead of the 2020/2021 elections, and asked them to contribute to the processes through the ministry.

“We have put efforts in reviewing our country’s constitution and the electoral law. There is a committee to ensure youth participation in the ongoing consultative process,” Minister Khadija said.

During the event, participants discussed and shared views on how they could raise awareness for fellow youth to participate in politics, the role of youth in nation-building and the importance of resilience in the face of political challenges.

Minister Khadija added, “We want the voice of the youth to be louder than ever. There is a chance to add your voice where you are not satisfied.”

According to Minister Khadija, cabinet endorsed a national youth policy establishing a framework to guide implementation of pro-youth programmes for Somalia. The policy is pending approval by the federal parliament.

Ms. Muna Hassan Mohamed, AMISOM Political Officer, explained that youth should not be left behind because they are a key constituency, and make up the largest proportion of Somalia’s population.

However, the lack of awareness of existing opportunities impedes youth political participation especially for young females, Muna noted.

A key challenge affecting youth in Somalia is the high unemployment rate, standing at about 67 percent for youth between 14 and 29 years. This makes it one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, according to the United Nations.

“This day is important for Somalia as it is an opportunity to raise awareness on the role of youth in development, economic and political participation,” said Muna.

Aweys Hassan Mohamed, a youth participant at the meeting rallied his fellow youth to take up the responsibility to rebuild the country. “Every country develops and grows because of the input and participation of its youth. We need to be ready to take part in national development,” he said.

Muna Osman Adan, another youth participant called for unity among youth in order to achieve their objectives as well as advocating for their right to political participation. “It is important for the youth to unite, shun tribalism and maintain solidarity in order to fully participate in the electoral process,” she said.