ARMY OF FEMALE POLITICIANS CALLS FOR PARTY FUNDING
An army of fired up women is coming after president Mokgweetsi Masisi’s administration and intends to pile pressure on it, to implement political party funding and start up a special fund for women in politics.
Women politicians, who attended a training workshop in Maun this week, are planning to force Masisi’s administration to make a commitment towards political party funding ahead of this year’s general elections.
“We must stand up and show them that we are capable of taking action. Let us go out there and start making noise about political party funding. We want to make our position clear. We are here representing the needs of the nation. We need a paradigm shift,” stated Alliance for Progressives (AP) Francistown East Parliamentary candidate, Theresa Mmolawa.
The women who were mostly council candidates underwent two- day training at Maun Lodge by Gender links where they were coached on how to become competitive candidates in a male dominated field of politics.
Amongst issues raised at the forum were unequal gender representation at decision- making level, including Parliament, local government and Cabinet.
Currently women representation in Parliament stands at 10 percent in Parliament, 19 % in Councils and 17 % in cabinet.
This according to the women is partly because they are financially constrained as compared to their male counterparts.
“Campaigns are expensive and therefore we want political funding. We are going to organise demonstrations as a collective women in politics. We will come with our different party colours and hold up placards and demand this to be addressed. We will have to start now. They will call us names and label us, but we have to join hands and stand together for this common course,” Mmolawa explained.
For a candidate to campaign efficiently, she needs at least P100 000.00 for parliamentary and P60 000.00 for council level, they said.
In support of the initiative was council candidate for Tati West, Adelline Kesebonye Gunda, who said, “We are fuelled up. Women are simmering, boiling due to the way men in politics have been treating us over the years. The playing field is not level. It is very hard out there. Women are pitted against each other by men who entice them with their fat wallets. It is difficult to win such women and men over to support female electorates when you have no funding to put on the table.”
Gunda pointed out that votes were bought thus making today’s democracy an expensive exercise.
“Let this be a turning point, whether some will be issued with suspension letters after this, we need to support each other. If I may ask, why is it so difficult for women to start an opposition party? Let the party be formed,” Gunda stated to the amusement of others who cheered over a suggestion that a woman’s only party could be formed.
Women, the attendants argued, make up most numbers of voters and yet it is men who often emerge as victors at election time.
The women are empowered by Botswana’s decision to sign SADC protocol on gender and development in 2016.
The protocol calls for equal representation of men and women in decision-making positions both at local and national levels by year 2030.
As the country goes to the polls in 2019, the women are therefore taking advantage and are of the view that 50/50 campaign has to be taken to a level of urgency since it will be the first of the three general elections following the signing of the SADC protocol on gender and development before 2030.
In 2014, Botswana Parliament passed a motion on political party funding, but it has never been implemented.
President Masisi, who then was the country’s Vice President stated that, since the ruling Botswana Democratic Party was not in support of the idea, they will not implement it.
The then Opposition MP, Bagalatia Aarone, who has since defected to the BDP, had tabled the motion.