UDC women fail to make up numbers

Dr Mpho Pheko is the UDC MP candidate for Gaborone Central
Dr Mpho Pheko is the UDC MP candidate for Gaborone Central

FRANCISTOWN: Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) women presently live on hope after failing to make up numbers in either the coalition’s national executive committee, or in the constituencies.

Opposition coalition women leagues under the UDC have not succeeded in their quest to have at least 10 female parliamentary candidates for the next general elections.

During the last Botswana National Front Women’s League (BNFWL) congress, which was held in Tonota in November 2018, BNFWL president Dorcas Mothusi had said they were going to propose to the UDC central committee to have 10 female parliamentary candidates for the upcoming general elections.

Speaking to Mmegi, BNFWL secretary general, Resego Kgosidintsi said that they wrote a letter to the BNF national executive committee (NEC) regarding one of the resolutions from BNFWL of post redistribution of the 14 constituencies that belonged to Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD).

She added that through the letter BNFWL demanded 30% of BNF’s share under UDC.

She said that it was also resolved that the BNF central committee recall one of the four male members from the UDC NEC and replace him with a woman.

Kgosidintsi said that the agreement between the women’s leagues from different parties in the UDC was for each to write own demand letter for to the 10 parliamentary seats to be allocated to women in the UDC.

She further said they only later learnt that the constituencies were managed at the UDC NEC, and the BNF alone had no jurisdiction over the constituencies.

She added that if they could have written the letter to the UDC NEC, maybe then they would have had a concrete response because it monitored the redistribution of constituencies.

Kgosidintsi said: “We are hopeful that moving forward, there will be equitable distribution of the constituencies”.

She shared that currently UDC has two women parliamentary candidates and they are fully behind them and will ensure their victory.

She further said that the representation of the women in the political party structure is still a concern despite the 30% quota in government, hence that is why proportional representation is important in the electoral system of Botswana.

Kgosidintsi added that women are caretakers of many families and they have historical disadvantages that place them beneath men economically, so political party funding will be of great significance.

She added that introducing political funding would make it easy for women to contest for both parliamentary and council candidate positions during the general elections.

Kgosidintsi also said that proportional representation allows for marginalised groups such as women, youth and the disabled to be represented as a list is compiled way before election on who makes it to Parliament.

She added that for instance neighbouring South Africa uses proportional representation and does not have gross gender imbalance in Parliament.

In an interview with the same publication a few months ago the then BCP Women’s League president, Daisy Bathusi said that they were still waiting for the UDC NEC to respond to their letter dated December 11, 2018.

In the letter, Bathusi highlighted that they requested UDC to avail some parliamentary positions to women.

Bathusi said that the reason for the delay was due to the issues of UDC going before the courts of law.

“There is a lot happening within the party and outside. Maybe UDC NEC will get back to us after dealing with contentious issues on their table,” she said.

She remained hopeful that women would be given parliamentary seats within the opposition coalition for the upcoming general elections.

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