Somali woman from St. Cloud is running for president in her native country


A woman from Minnesota has thrown her hat into the ring for next year's presidential election – in her native country of Somalia.

The St. Cloud Times reports Anab Dahir has lived in St. Cloud since 2008 after moving to Minnesota from Tennessee (via Europe), and she hopes to use the "experience and education" she's gained in the U.S. to "help repair" her homeland.

She told the newspaper she had the idea while considering a run for St. Cloud City Council, before setting her sights on a loftier goal.

"I'm thinking about Somalia problems, never changing, (worse) every day," she told the St.Cloud Times, adding: "My goal is, I want to be the woman who is challenging the man," saying men have failed at rebuilding the country.

Dahir told The Sahan Journal she had visited Somalia in 2013 – the first time since she'd left in 1989 – and said that the sights of neglected street children sniffing glue and displaced people living without shelter had a great effect on her.

"The current government is trying to do its best, but it has a bad leadership," the mother of six told the independent news service. "I'll be a true leader."

Security from Army a key campaign pledge

Dahir, who works as an interpreter at medical clinics in St. Cloud, intends to go back to Somalia early next year to publicize her campaign across the country, the Sahan Journal says.

One of her campaign pledges is to form "a strong national army" to bring security to the troubled country, which has been torn apart by civil war and Islamic extremism in the past two decades.

The St. Cloud Times did a profile on Dahir last year, in which it notes she has become "an integral part of the community," proving a useful contact for city leaders and police looking to work with the Somali community.

She has served as an intermediary between parents and teachers during school conferences, served on St. Cloud's Housing and Redevelopment Authority commissioner board, and created the Central Minnesota Somali Women Support group.

Dahir's campaign can be followed through

" target="_blank">Twitter and her Facebook page.

Minnesotan behind bid to increase female politicians in Somalia

Dahir is not the only Minnesota Somali hoping to make an impact at next year's elections.

The Star Tribune reports a campaign to ensure that more woman get involved in the political process and into power in Somalia has its roots in Minneapolis, where Zainab Hassan joined nine other Somali leaders to form the Somali Gender Equity Movement (SGEM).

Hassan, a resident of Minnesota for the last 14 years, sees women as being key to rebuilding the country, and has an aim of increasing female membership in the Somalia parliament from 14 percent to 40 percent.

"We want to raise the way women are perceived in society as well as in politics," she told the newspaper. "We need women to participate."

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