Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) Women’s Wing (WW) will be heading for its elective congress on 18th June.
A number of big names, among them Finance Minister, Peggy Serame, Botswana’s Ambassador to Australia, Dorcas Makgato and former Gaborone Mayor, Veronica Lesole have been thrown around as those seeking office positions.
However, all are keeping their cards close to their bosoms – all apart from Neo Maruapula, who has confirmed she will seek re-election as the WW’s General Secretary (GS).
Here, she speaks to The Voice’s, DANIEL CHIDA.
Share with us your achievements since getting into office five years ago?
My tenure as General Secretary of the BDP WW has been challenging, especially given the unpredictable times that we as a party, the country and indeed the world has had to face.
I assumed the position in 2017, the party internal Bulela Ditswe gearing up for the 2019 general elections followed immediately thereafter.
The biggest achievement therefore would have to be the fact that as a WW, we were able to support the entire party to a victory in the 2019 general elections.
Covid followed shortly after and dynamics changed, party and indeed the WW activities were disrupted. However, we as the WW managed to mobilise women and raised funds towards the Covid relief efforts.
Recently with normalcy beginning to return, the Wing has organised successful constitutional review seminars in Gaborone, Palapye and Kang to ensure the voices of the girl-child and women in general are heard and reflected in what is to be a reviewed, more inclusive Constitution of Botswana.
What challenges have you faced?
Having more women contest and take up elective leadership in the party and nationally will always be a cause I champion.
Despite us as women outnumbering our male counterparts in political activism, the number of women stepping up for election or even those emerging triumphant for elected offices has not been pleasing.
There is a silver lining, however, as it was witnessed as the national election that, through the lobby of the Women’s Wing, there was a considerable impact with a number of women being elevated and deservedly being appointed to offices of leadership both in the public and private sector.
We applaud President Masisi for championing this drive.
We saw for the first time, two women being appointed as Vice Chancellors of Universities at Botswana Open University and The University of Botswana.
As for political competition, women’s biggest stumbling block has, and will always be, the lack of resources.
Politicians regularly complain of sabotage, did you get enough support from other women?
First and foremost, I am forever grateful to the women of the BDP Women’s Wing for having entrusted me with the responsibility to serve in this capacity.
My role, although a challenging one, has been more doable with the amazing support from the many tireless and committed women of the BDP, many of whom have been foot soldiers and activists for a lot longer than I have.
I have continued to learn the ropes of the political atmosphere, all thanks to the tremendous support from the women I have had the privilege of working with.
What about men?
The support and working relationships have been cordial and productive.
Any plans to contest for parliamentary office?
My current and undivided focus is in serving as the General Secretary of the BDP Women’s Wing.
What is your message for your party?
Romans 13 Verse 1: ‘Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.
For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.’
Without order, respect for authority and guidelines, there will never be progress and achievement.
We are only stronger and victorious when organisational structures and hierarchy are respected.
The move in unison and unity equals victory.