Post link 04 May 2016, 0:59
During her last visit to Somalia in January, presidential hopeful Fadumo Dayib, 43, decided to let off some steam by visiting the Liido beach in the capital Mogadishu, a place she frequented as a child. death threats from al-Shabab and facing a raft of challenges her male opponents do not have, Fadumo Dayib is determined to become President of Somalia.

BY CONOR GAFFEY ON 4/30/16 AT 10:02 AM

After posting pictures of her visit on social media, the Finnish citizen was bombarded with calls from friends checking that she was still alive. Some two hours after she had left in the late afternoon Somali sunshine, gunmen affiliated to the militant group al-Shabab descended on a restaurant at the popular beach. Twenty people were killed by eight attackers in the deadly encounter.

Dayib, who announced in 2014 that she intends to run for the Somali presidency if popular elections scheduled for 2016 go ahead, is convinced the timing of the attack was linked to her visit. Before she visited Mogadishu, she had prepared her will after receiving death threats from al-Shabab, which is aligned to al-Qaeda, due to her decision to put herself forward for public office.

“I find this to be very shocking that as a female, just by virtue of you standing up to exercise your human rights, someone is willing to take your life for doing that,” said Dayib, who currently works in Helsinki helping refugees arriving in Finland to find work and also has a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University.

Al-Shabab’s threats toward Dayib are ironic, considering the novel position she would adopt if she were to come to power— talking to the militants. “I would negotiate with al-Shabab, not because I am a sympathizer or agree with what they’re doing, but because we need to survive,” she said.

Dayib stresses there would be conditions to such negotiations—al-Shabab would be required to disarm, stop attacking civilians and disavow links to international militant groups.

Getting to such a position of power where she could negotiate with the militant group would appear a dim prospect for a woman in Somalia. The country has a high rate of gender-based violence—almost 4,000 cases were recorded in 2012 by UNICEF partners, and Dayib describes rape as a “national hobby”—and the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the world.

After Somalia was ranked the fifth worst place to be a woman in a 2011 survey, then-Somali women’s minister Maryan Qasim admitted she was surprised the country did not rank worse. But Dayib insists that Somalia is ready for “a capable leadership that can get it out of the rut that it’s in,” whether that is male or female. “If Somali citizens were given an option and opportunity, they would elect a woman into office,” she said.

Born in Kenya and raised by a single mother, Dayib spent much of her early life moving between the country and neighboring Somalia until she was finally deported, along with her mother and siblings, from the Kenyan port city of Mombasa to Mogadishu in 1989.

Just two years later, civil war broke out in Somalia and engulfed the capital and Dayib’s family. Her mother was temporarily imprisoned because her brother—Dayib’s uncle—was believed to be funding a group opposed to the then-Somali dictator Siad Barre.

Dayib had to live with her extended family, who despised her and her siblings because they were from another clan. “I recall repeated beatings, very physical to the extent I would lose consciousness,” she said. “I still have those scars on my body.”

As the country descended into chaos, her mother decided that Dayib and her siblings had to leave the country. Dayib recalls her mother being torn between going with her children and being threatened by Dayib’s grandmother that she would be cursed if she abandoned her elders.

“This is the way the Somali [clan] system works—when your family calls, you go and leave even your kids,” said Dayib. So her mother stayed behind in Somalia. Dayib feels no bitterness towards her, only admiration. Her mother had already lost 11 children and letting her remaining three leave was “the most selfless thing that my mother could have done.”

Eventually, Dayib was reunited with her mother in Finland through a family reunification scheme, and her mother spent the last years of her life in Helsinki, learning to read and write at the age of 68 before dying in 1995. ON PAGE 2
Topic edited 3 times, last edit by RouTe, 04 May 2016, 1:14  

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