CONSORTIUM STILL GRUMBLING OVER PARLY WOMEN QUOTA
The Human Rights and Governance Consortium (HRGC) has expressed disappointment on the failure by the electorate and government to ensure that at least 30 per cent of women are elected to the 11th Parliament.
The country’s Constitution stipulates that Parliament should have at least 30 per cent while the SADC Gender Protocol calls for 50 per cent female representation quotas.
The consortium noted that the numbers composing the new Legislature (both houses) make up 22 per cent female representation.
This is said to have resulted from the failure on the authorities and the electorate to adhere to the Constitution when electing and appointing Members of Parliament.
According to the consortium, there would have been 43 per cent women proportion guaranteed if Section 95(2) of the Constitution was followed.
“There is need to ensure that the Constitution is followed through. Where the Constitution states that at least eight are to be women out of 20 to be appointed, it did not materialise.
Section 95(2) further states that half appointed members of the House shall be female, and representation from marginalised groups to adequately represent their interest.
There would have been 43 per cent women proportion guaranteed if the Constitution was followed and eight were appointed,” stated the consortium.
Only two out of 59 women in the House of Assembly were elected in the 59 Tinkhundla as Members of Parliament (MPs) during the Secondary Elections held on 21 September 2018.
Three more women out of a total of 10 were appointed by His Majesty the King in October 2018, bringing their number to 5/ 69 in the House of Assembly.
As anticipated, for the time, four women (one from each region) are yet to be elected as the Constitution provides that if women representation is less than 30 per cent, Parliament should elect them. This will increase women representation to 9/73 (nine out of 73) showing only a 12 per cent female representation in the House of Assembly.
In Senate, of the 10 senators elected by the House of Assembly, five were women.
Six out of twenty (6/20) women were appointed by His Majesty the King, showing 37 per cent female representation in Senate. Both houses compose 22 per cent female representation.
Leading to elections, during the nomination, 26 per cent women versus 74 per cent men were nominated in the three categories, MPs, Tindvuna and Bucopho categories.
There were 26 per cent women nominated for MP position. The women MP numbers dropped to 13.3 per cent in primary election and 12 per cent after secondary elections.
In the Indvuna Yenkhundla category, 14 per cent are women and 13 per cent as Bucopho are women. The consortium says there are a range of challenges why women are barred from decision-making, including strong perceptions society still holds about their role.
According to the Toolkit for Gender Sensitive Electoral Education produced by Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) - Eswatini these challenges include but not limited to five factors.
These are: the socio-economic status of women, their minority status, negative cultural practices including lack of participation of women mourning the death of their husbands, patriarchy, the late campaigning in the electoral process and corruption.
“We would like to observe that whilst many dismiss the ‘ Vote for Women’ campaign as having failed, it must be appreciated that changing society norms and beliefs takes longer than merely acting upon elections. Until women are afforded more time to campaign, the results would always be a disappointment,” says the statement.
The statement added that this campaign was a building block and civil society would continue to advocate for more women in positions of power.
…Vote for women campaign achieved 22 per cent representation instead of the mandatory 30 per cent.
Some of the women who were lobbying for the Parliament seats during the recent swearing-in of MPs.