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History made as Somalia elects its first female mayor, Safiya Hassan Sheikh Ali Jimale

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  • The city of Beledweyne located in central Somalia has produced the country’s first female mayor by the name of Safiya Hassan Sheikh Ali Jimale.
  • Speaking to the VOA Somali service on her appointment, Safiya stressed that she will not shy from tackling her mandate head-on.
  • She becomes the second mayor of the city, which has more than 1.7 million inhabitants after Beledweyne held municipal elections in 2012, the first since the beginning of the civil war in the early 1990s.

Somalia has made history and elected the first female mayor in the country’s history.

The city of Beledweyne located in central Somalia has produced the country’s first female mayor by the name of Safiya Hassan Sheikh Ali Jimale.

Her rise to the historic position was via the appointment of Mohamed Abdi Waare, leader of Hirshabelle region of which Beledweyne is the capital.


Beledweyne. (goobjoog)

Speaking to the VOA Somali service on her appointment, Safiya stressed that she will not shy from tackling her mandate head-on.

She becomes the second mayor of the city, which has more than 1.7 million inhabitants after Beledweyne held municipal elections in 2012, the first since the beginning of the civil war in the early 1990s.

The city is part of the Beledweyne District and serves as the capital of the Hiiraan province. The town is situated in the Shebelle Valley some 210 miles north of Mogadishu. It is divided by the Shebelle River into eastern and western sections.


Mogadishu police band. (Time Magazine)

As a conservative Islamic society, the public and political lives of women continues to make significant inroads in the Horn of Africa nation dogged by Al-Shabaab insurgency.

Somalia boasts of women in all facets of public life. Women serve in both houses of parliament, they are women serving in the military and police and a number of ministerial portfolios are also held by women.

Across Africa, other female mayors currently in office include Yvonne Aki Sawyerr (Freetown, Sierra Leone), Marie-Chantal Rwakazina (Kigali, Rwanda), Rohey Malick Lowe (Banjul, The Gambia) and Soham El Wardani (Dakar, Senegal).