19 June 2008
Women urged to register for elections
By Njabulo Dlamini
WOMEN have been encouraged to take advantage of the remaining three days to register for the elections.
They have also been urged to position themselves to be nominated and thereafter elected to parliament.
The Gender Consortium, under the auspices of Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO), reiterated its unwavering support of the ‘Vote for a Woman’ campaign, encouraging the fairer species to grab the opportunity (partaking in the elections) with both hands.
Registration ends on Sunday and centres are located throughout the Kingdom; schools, town councils, chiefdoms, etc.
“We want to increase the percentage of women in decision making positions and thus call upon the citizenry to register to be in a position to vote or be voted for. Our objective is so that as a country we attain the 50 percent mark (representation of women in decision making structures) set by SADC and embraced by the Africa Region,” said Sizakele Hlatshwayo, CANGO Gender Specialist.
Hlatshwayo said since Swaziland had committed herself in meeting the SADC Region call, they were rallying women to form part of the process as well.
CANGO Information Officer Bongiwe Zwane said they had noted many assertive women out there as they hosted dialogues in the four Regions around invigorating women movement and ‘Vote for a Woman’ campaign.
The campaign was launched on May 2, 2008 with the sole aim of sensitising the public to vote for women in the elections.
“We are also calling on men in general to go and register so that they can be able to vote for the women of their choice to represent them in parliament. We particularly encourage the youth, especially young women and those living with disabilities, to take this opportunity to make their voice heard by standing up and reclaiming their place in society”.
The Consortium clarified it was a non-partisan organisation by its very mandate and open to all views ‘and remains committed to inculcating the culture of diversity’.
“The national elections present an opportunity for all Swazis to vote for people of their choice. We are of the view that the current system which allows people to be voted into office in their personal capacity presents a challenge as they are not accountable to anyone.
“We would like to see a system where someone is elected as a representative of a certain formation that will demand accountability and transparency”.
As well, the Consortium called for those appointed for affirmative action purposes to be allocated a sector they will represent e.g. disabled, elderly and children other than being there in their personal capacities.