Known for his liberal views on women’s empowerment, Dr Suso told The Standard that the women of this country can “produce better presidents” as their leadership will “improve productivity” and end “marginalisation”.
He rebutted the allegedly “Islamic view” that women leadership is ‘haram’ as proclaimed by former State House Imam Abdoulie Fatty. He added:
“The prophet has only urged the Muslims to be sympathetic to our women and not marginalise them.There are very competent Gambian women who can be competent presidents if given the opportunity. I will be very happy to see a women presidential candidate come 2016 presidential elections. In fact, I am looking forward to seeing that happen. If women do not show their face I will be disappointed. Sometimes the fault is with the women themselves because they just sit down to be invited. No! It is their right to partake in the electoral process so let them seize it. Women presidency will create a good governance atmosphere, promote our democratic credentials, and it will also result in higher productivity. It will have a lot of positive effects on our socio-economic wellbeing as a nation.
“I cannot believe in the argument that women leadership will retard our development. I think it will improve our productivity and thus our task of achieving the status of a developed nation. Women are the majority in this country and they are more active and productive than men in the development front. So marginalising them will not help. It is only having them fully participate in governance and other key sectors of our economy that we will achieve our national aspirations and this involves presidency. It is not true that the prophet said that women should not be leaders or presidents. If anything, the prophet said that we must be sympathetic to our women – we must recognise them. In fact, there are countries where women have become leaders like Liberia and they are doing quite well.”
The Gambia has never had a female presidential candidate since the country gained independence in 1965 which many put down to the ‘conservative’ nature of the society and “religious considerations”.
However, the country has recently seen a rise in women participation in politics and many analysts believe the widely held “Islamic” belief that “women are barred from leadership” is rapidly waning.
Women leaders in the country like Dr. Isatou Touray of Gamcotrap have argued that Gambian political parties should nominate female candidates for political positions.]]>