TONOTA: Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) 37th elective congress has failed to elect more women into the Central Committee for the umpteenth time. Once again, the BDP has settled for a male-dominated team in the governing structure.
Out of the 10 contested positions including five of the party president’s nominations, only two out of a total of 15 politicians are women. This leaves the BDP as a party very gender-insensitive if the weekend congress results are anything to go by.
With only a paltry 13.33% of women in an organisation as big and diverse as the ruling party, it raises more questions than answers about the party’s commitment to empowering women.
A quick glimpse at the party’s five executive positions shows that there is no woman in this category, which is the highest level in terms of decision-making in the BDP.
In the second elected category of additional members there is only one woman, which also shows that the party which has more women than men, doesn’t have trust or have little of it, in this largest constituency.
Even when using his prerogative as the party president, to choose five more politicians into the party central committee, Ian Khama only chose one woman.
It’s apparent that under Khama, the party had regressed in terms of trusting women politicians with prominent roles, which often prepare them for greater leadership roles. In fact, Khama did not fair well in his executive powers in
Out of six openings for Specially Elected Members of Parliament, Khama, and by extension the BDP-dominated Parliament, elected only two women and gave the other four slots to men. He did not do badly in appointments to cabinet, as four women made it, with only one MP missing out.
The BDP seems to not want to tap on the wisdom of women they have in their midst, and instead seems to continue to relegate them to lesser challenging roles like singing in choirs and cooking for their male counterparts.
Even after his re-election as the party BDP chairperson, Masisi never considered the gender imbalance in the new committee worthy of being mentioned at least at the congress venue. This is despite that women politicians have for many years fought for inclusion in both the party and government leadership. Their never-ending struggle is set to continue.
Political commentator, Anthony Morima has said that it was imperative that both youth and women should use their respective structures to assert themselves than choosing to remain silent.
His take was that instead, the two organs (youth and women) of the party should be proactive and fight for their places in the party leadership structures.