Second woman from diaspora announces candidacy for president of Somalia

Anab Mohamud pictured at Sheraton Hotel in Minneapolis on June 13, 2015. [Sahan Journal]

Anab Mohamud pictured at Sheraton Hotel in Minneapolis on June 13, 2015. [Sahan Journal]

Anab Mohamed Dahir has been thinking about Somalia ever since she came back from Mogadishu in 2013.

Now, Anab, who lives in the Minnesota town of St. Cloud, wants to do something to change Somalia’s current situation. She’s declared candidacy for president of Somalia.

Anab will be the second woman from the diaspora to vie for the country’s top seat.

Related: Is it time for Somalia’s first female president?

In an interview with Sahan Journal in June, Anab said she went to Somalia in 2013 to assess the country’s situation. That’s the first time she visited Somalia since 1989, when she left the country.

During the visit, Anab said she saw street children being neglected and sniffing glue, and internally displaced persons living without shelters. As a mother, that affected her personally, she said.

“The current government is trying to do its best,” she said, “but it has a bad leadership.”

There’s also a lack of security in the country, she said, and for the security to improve, the country needs honest leadership.

“I’ll be a true leader,” the mother of six said.

Anab came close to holding a public office last year when she considered running for St. Cloud City Council.

If elected to Villa Somalia, She said she will form a strong national army that will bring back security across the country.

“My goal is, I want to be the woman who is challenging the man,” Anab told the St. Cloud Times. “Now, it’s the turn of women.”

Anab is an interpreter for medical clinics in St. Cloud. She wants to study political science at St. Cloud State University.

Anab said she wants the public to vote for the country’s leader in 2016 because she considers the current system, where parliamentarians select the president, to be unfair.

“The parliament is corrupt,” she said. “They will sell their votes to the highest-bidding candidate.”

Anab said she’ll go back to Somalia early next year to publicize her campaign across the county.

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  • Luna Maria Robles

    Is she going to uplift Somalia’s brothers and bring the people home? Cause Somalia need a woman trying to prove she can take on a man, Somalia needs the Lion’s spirit and the love of the land again. It needs to remember its honor and glory and its men and women need to work together again to make lands team with life, not strife. Somalia CAN be a place of amazing agricultural sustenance, reliable energy and safe and secure export transport. It can honor the faith without being manipulated by faithless.
    Good to luck to her, I hope she is truly blessed with wisdom, clarity and discernment and her heart is set on renewal and regrowth. But if all this is about is some feminist agenda to be a woman battling men for equal respect, she won’t earn it, and her boys and men will still crave leadership and power in themselves to be the men of goodness of glory they are. And that means the girls will not have many good brothers to turn to and share amazing lives with down the road.

  • Omar Egeh

    Anab, my advice to you is the following: Run for St. Cloud’s City Council and gain some political experience. This is more feasible than going to Somalia and running for office. Somali politics is dominated by men; you have to be from certain sub-clans (Abgaal or Majertein), possess a great deal of money to outbid other candidates, and overcome the public’s mistrust of women. These are no easy tasks. Second, please study politics at your local college. You cannot say I want to study politics and run for the highest office in your native country. That connotes you have no idea what you are talking about. Finish school first and then run for office. Third, I hope you are not seeking attention and the limelight by declaring for the presidency. If you want name for yourself, do something else. You and the other female candidate are in this for making name fir yourself. The sane can be said of the men too. That is why Somalia is in a mess. Every candidate wants fame, fortune, and legacy. Frankly, there is a lot you can do for your country than running for presidency.

  • Juana Gaviota

    Anab Dahir, who has lived in Minnesota for eight years and also in Tennessee before moving to the northern state, has been quoted in the press as saying, “I want to die changing my country.” She’s talking about Somalia, not the United States of America, which took her and her six kids in as refugees, fed them, clothed them and gave them shelter.

    Such a difference between my immigrant forebears and her ilk! My four grandparents immigrated as adults in the late 1800s and learned to speak English on their own—no ESL classes back then. They never considered the country they emigrated from to be their country. They, like immigrants of their generation in general, were fiercely proud to be Americans—first, last and foremost. Many times as a child in the 1940s I heard immigrants (and their first-generation offspring) correct others who had referred to them as Swedish, Norwegian, German, French, etc. “I am American!” they’d protest. None seemed to require the divisive hyphenation one sees used today.

    Judging from her feminist activism in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Dahir has admirable gifts that lend themselves to politics. Too bad she thinks it’s more important that she use them tilting at windmills in a failed African state than bettering the lives of women in the country to whom she owes her allegiance. Somali-born women, often the mother of a large brood and no husband in sight, can have an especially difficult time adjusting to life in a country so different from that which they fled.

    We who live in Minnesota have seen the difficulties refugees from Southeast Asia had in adapting to U.S. culture when they flooded here after the Vietnam War and Lao and Cambodian civil wars ended. The Hmong had a particularly hard time. Today these immigrants are some of our most productive and successful citizens, and none to my knowledge has ever produced children or grandchildren who thought it a swell idea to go back to “the old country” and stand for election—or strap on suicide vests.

    • J_Hottest

      What the hell?!? The fact that this woman wants to return to her native country and help make a change is admirable. The fact that you wrote an essay about why you think she should stay in america and not help a “failed african state” , which btw is called somalia if your ignorant ass did not know, is stupid on so many levels. You need a reality check! This has whatsoever nothing to do with you and im baffled you had the nerve to write this AND ACTUALLY POST IT! white ppl always thinking they can say whatever the hell they want, get a life!!!!

      • Juana Gaviota

        Citizenship is not conferred lightly by the United States of America. Dahir took an Oath of Allegiance when she became a citizen, and she risks having her passport revoked because she has violated that oath (see very first sentence of the oath, below).

        I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and
        abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate,
        state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject
        or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of
        the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
        that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear
        arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I
        will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United
        States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national
        importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I
        take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose
        of evasion; so help me God.

        • A. Jama

          “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate,
          state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject
          or citizen”.

          Well, the United States Constitution accepts and allows for dual nationality. Surely the United States legislature has thought about the implications of that. Even if other nations do not explicitly state so, the assumption is there that this other state also has its own expectations of fealty. So how does one reconcile this apparent contradiction?

          And secondly, this is a reality in the entire world. There are those who served as leaders in the US with dual citizenship and vice versa. Some are forced to abandon foreign citizenship upon assumption of public office (e.g. Pakistan, Israel) in countries where dual citizenship is otherwise permitted.

          She can serve wherever in the world that she pleases and that does not have to diminish whatever it is that she feels for the US. You are trying to separate her from hers, just because she has a document that states she is a citizen of a certain country.

          Assimilation is not the answer to everything.

          • Juana Gaviota

            A.J, thank you for your respectful comment—so much more intelligent than J Hottest’s hot-headed vulgarities. But I must elaborate and say that although the Fourteenth Amendment addresses many
            aspects of citizenship and the rights of citizens, nowhere in the U.S. Constitution
            is dual nationality specifically mentioned.

            Perhaps you are thinking of the 1976 Supreme Court decision Afroyim v. Rusk (387 U.S. 253). The petitioner, a naturalized American citizen, voted in a foreign election and the State Department subsequently refused to renew his passport, maintaining that he had lost his citizenship by virtue of §401(e) of the Nationality Act of 1940.

            The Fourteenth Amendment was written for the express purpose of protecting former slaves and was ambiguous for situations like that in Afroyim v. Rusk. In its 1976 decision, the Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment’s provision that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States . . . are citizens of the
            United States . . .” completely controls the status of citizenship. In so doing, the Court prevented the government from taking away the petitioner’s rights under the Constitution. (The government may, the court said, revoke citizenship under certain conditions, e.g., when a citizen voluntarily gives up his or her citizenship.) Thus was dual nationality made legal.

            So, even though the Court has allowed American citizens to hold passports allowing them to vote in and run for office in another nation, a question remains vis-à-vis Somalia: Is Somalia a legitimate nation? Or has it collapsed and become, de facto, a non-nation in legal terms and thus not covered by the decision made by the
            Supreme Court in Afroyim v. Rusk?

            Somalia, perhaps the world’s most emblematic failed state, has been without a functional central government, and it has no capacity to provide key public goods to its citizens. Somalia’s civil war destroyed the state judiciary, leaving an institutional
            vacuum that was subsequently filled by the Islamic Courts Union. Somalia lacks
            the ability to effectively control substantial portions of its territory. The so-called government is unable and/or unwilling to provide for the essential human needs of its citizens—in terms of security as well as adequate food, clean water, health care and education. A citizenry provided with these key needs is what constitutes a true nation.

            Obviously I’m no fan of dual nationality. I thought it wrong for a niece to go to Israel and fight in its army when she would never in a million years join the U.S. Army. In these trying times, when hundreds of young Muslim Americans have left for foreign lands, joining radical Islamist groups like al-Shabab, al-Qaeda and ISIL, dual citizenship can present us with a security issue. The U.S. president’s first
            duty is to protect this country’s citizens. I ask, what is our first duty as

            In questioning dual citizenship, I’m not saying that immigrants must forget their
            countries of birth or repudiate their language or culture. In large parts of
            the southwestern United States, U.S. citizens of Mexican descent frequently
            travel back and forth between the two countries, enriching the cultures and
            economies of both countries. Rather, I believe that citizenship in this country
            should be an expression of allegiance to it, enforced not merely by a pledge
            but rather by a desire to be contributing members of U.S. society. What I want
            to see in my country are undivided Americans, proud of their heritage, yes, but
            committed, first and foremost, to this nation.

  • Hajih

    We welcome Anab’s ambitions to change her country of birth for the better. However running for the presidency is not the only way one can help her/his country. Anab appears to lack the experience and the qualification of such an office as the presidency and I think she will do much better for the country she loves and the children that are suffering by supporting her sister who declared her candidacy previously. She will be in a much better shape to change Somalia by morally and materially supporting this sister rather than muddy the already murky waters of Somalia politics and women participation.

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