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Comoros' only female presidential candidate rallies voters ahead of Sunday poll

Comoros' only female presidential candidate rallies voters ahead of Sunday poll

Comoros

Moinaecha Djalali, the only female candidate that will be vying for Comoros’ presidential elections has decried the poor state of the country and said it was time for a woman to lead the archipelago.

“No water, no electricity, no roads. Forty years of independence led by men, this is the result,” joked the only female presidential candidate in Sunday’s poll.

Clad in a purple cap and matching small white heels, she harangues the crowd at Moroni market.

The country has almost fallen into a coma. It's dilapidated.

“I’m number 11 (on the ballot). 11 is the number of Drogba, the striker, the winner,” said Djalali, to applause, referring to Ivorian footballer Didier Drogba.

At 54, this woman of Franco-Comoran Affairs is playing her cards differently from the two dozen male candidates running for the top job. Her posters present her as “the mother of the archipelago” while her campaign song promises a change for the Comorian women.

“The country has almost fallen into a coma. It’s dilapidated. At the Moroni hospital, nine infants died (two years ago) due to power cuts of incubators. The men who have been leading this country have failed,” she told AFP just days before the first round of presidential elections on Sunday.

“If you can not run the country, let go of the steering wheel and entrust it to me,” asserted Djalali before a crowd at Volo Volo market, who were predominantly female.

Comoros, a Muslim country in the Indian Ocean, advocates a tolerant Islam but only one woman holds a ministerial post.

Djalali is the second woman to run for president. In 2010, a physical education teacher, Zaharia Said Hamed, participated in the elections and ended up obtaining less than 1% of the vote.

The first round of voting will take place on February 21, with the top three candidates to face off in a second round on April 18.

Since gaining independence from France in 1975, the impoverished archipelago has witnessed more than 20 attempted coups, four of which were successful, but it has enjoyed relative stability in recent years.

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