The Voice (Botswana)


Emang Basadi questions UDC’S commitment to women empowermen­t


President of Emang Basadi, Theresa Mmolawa, has come out with guns blazing, accusing political parties of blatantly disregardi­ng their own constituti­ons when it comes to issues of women empowermen­t.

In an interview with The Voice on Tuesday, Mmolawa gave an example of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition negotiator­s who were all men.

The historic announceme­nt of a successful conclusion of coalition talks last month was signed by Dr Patrick Molutsi (BNF), Prof. Phillip Bulawa (BPP), Wynter Mmolotsi (AP), Major General Pius Mokgware (AP), Lazarus Lekgoanyan­a (BPF), and Ford Moiteela (BPF).

“It’s a boys club. I was taken aback and shocked when I saw this. This gender disparity is very insensitiv­e of our leaders,” said Mmolawa.

The Emang Basadi President noted a lot has been said about the importance of having gender balance in organisati­ons, especially where critical decisions are taken.

“I wonder if our male counterpar­ts in the UDC didn’t realise there was a huge anomaly as they met and discussed issues of party coalition and women representa­tion was zero. How insensitiv­e are our men in politics? You can’t make decisions about everyday life issues affecting women without their input,” she charged.

Mmolawa, who ran for the Francistow­n East Parliament­ary seat in 2019 under the Alliance for Progressiv­es (AP) ticket, feels this shows how far behind the country is with issues of gender balance.

“This is not just about the UDC, it also includes the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and other opposition parties. The only way women make it to parties’ National Executive

Committees (NEC) is through the positions they hold at Women’s League, otherwise women would be nowhere near the decision-making table,” Mmolawa told The Voice.

She said this dominance by men is also visible at branch and regional level of all parties.

“We expect political leaders to take gender inclusiven­ess matters seriously, not to take critical decisions of even allocating constituen­cies leaving out women. They expect us to be actors and not decision makers, this is wrong in all respects and it shows patriarcha­l dominance endorsed; it is disturbing,” she concluded grimly.

Reached for comment, UDC spokespers­on, Moeti Mohwasa, confirmed they have noted the concerns raised by Emang Basadi and take such issues very seriously. He added they remain open for engagement with the NGO to address the issues. “Regrettabl­y, because of our regard for Emang Basadi, we will not have a public engagement, response or a spat with them. Their commitment to raising and mainstream­ing women issues is highly appreciate­d and acknowledg­ed,” said Mohwasa.

 ?? CONCERNED: Mmolawa ??

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