MP Yusuf Jimale lauds inclusion of minorities in the Somali electoral process
Forty-year-old Yusuf Hayle Jimale is one of the 200-plus members of parliament who Somalia will rely upon to elect the next president who will steer the country for the next four years.
Though Mr. Jimale is one of the old faces making a comeback to Parliament, as one of the representatives of Galmudug state, he considers his re-election special. The legislator hails from the Tumaal, meaning the blacksmiths, a minority clan that had been marginalized for many years and only allowed to marry among themselves.
“Minorities have been allowed to elect their Members of Parliament for seats in various regions. The acceptance of the participation of the minorities in the electoral process is itself democracy. My special thanks message goes to the Federal Government of Somalia and all regional states leaders for accepting minorities to vote in their regions,” observes Jimale.
Apart from the Tumaal, other minority clans allocated seats are Musa-Dhari, Yibro, Yaxar and Madhibaan among others.
The inclusivity of the process, he says, also brought together people from all walks of life, making it possible for members of minority tribes to be elected to Parliament.
“It is the first time that clan elders, religious scholars, women, youth and the business community are all involved in the electoral process. This is a more inclusive and credible process than that of 2012 because more minorities were involved,” the MP explains.
Mr. Jimale concedes the 2016 electoral process had its challenges, but quickly adds that the exercise is a step forward towards universal suffrage.
Born in Mogadishu in 1976, Jimale was orphaned at the tender age of two. He started selling newspapers at the age of 17 to eke out a living for himself and his siblings. He also worked as a cashier at a local pharmacy, before venturing into business and later into politics in 2009. The MP owns a charity organization called Somali Humanitarian, Education and Development Association (SOHEDA), established in 2013, to help poor children acquire education.