Women demand large chunk of party funding budget

Tshimologo Dingake. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO
Tshimologo Dingake. PIC MORERI SEJAKGOMO

FRANCISTOWN: Local women politicians have demanded that they should be allocated a large chunk of the political party funding budget. For many years, there has been an unwavering resolve and a shared sense of purpose among opposition parties that government should allocate a budget for political party funding.

This year, for the first time in history, the government allocated P34 million to fund political parties. The money will be for the 2024-25 fiscal year. The criterion for allocating the budget is still unknown but in an interview this week, the Botswana Congress Party Women’s League president, Tshimologo Dingake, said the allocation of the political party funding budget must be guided by a principle of fairness, integrity, and civic engagement, with a view of encouraging more women to play a leading role in active politics. “The allocation of the political funding budget demands a willingness to confront the systemic inequities and structural barriers that threaten to undermine the democratic process. And above all, it should ensure that a large chunk of money is allocated to women politicians,” Dingake said.

She added: “The government has to be very intentional about ensuring that women are part of leadership or decision-making positions." There have always been concerns that women are not keen to contest key political leadership positions. Parties have previously used affirmative action policies to encourage women to contest leadership positions but have not been successful. One of the key challenges preventing women from contesting leadership positions is said to be finance or resources. “Most women in Botswana are head of their families, which is why it is difficult for them to sacrifice family resources to fund their participation in politics. That is why we believe that a large share of the political party funding budget should go to women politicians. We have always maintained that the introduction of political party funding will encourage women to contest for council and parliamentary positions. We made the same submission to the constitutional review committee as women politicians in Botswana,” she said. The BCP has gone to an extent of saying that in future it will consider allocating 50% of leadership positions across all our key structures to women, from the current proportion of 30% to build their confidence and ensure that there is equity in terms of leadership in the party.

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