26 July 2008
‘Vote for Woman’ campaign taken to chiefdoms
The Ministry of Home Affairs’ Gender Coordination Unit in collaboration with a number of Non-Governmental Organisations and the Lutsango LwakaNgwane women’s movement is pressing ahead with its programme of sensitising the citizenry on the promotion of women’s participation in elections.
Beginning from today, the three entities will be visiting 14 chiefdoms and constituency centres in the Manzini and Hhohho regions, in a bid to promote the ‘2008 Vote for Woman campaign,’ which has drawn unbridled criticism in some chiefdoms in the country.
A number of chiefs in Shiselweni levelled matters with the campaign, stopping short to calling it ‘evil.’
They averred that the whole campaign was out to reverse a long- standing social order, which they believe was sanctioned by God when he created the earth.
The campaign, which will run on both Saturday and Sunday, will include chiefdoms and constituency centres in the Manzini and Hhohho region.
In a statement released by the ministry through Acting Principal Secretary Ben Zwane, over 3 200 participants were expected to partake in this two- day campaign.
The statement continued that this community sensitisation of women’s participation in elections at chiefdom level was a bid to increase more women in Parliament, Tindvuna Tetinkhundla, Bucopho and other decision making positions both in traditional and modern structures.
The campaign will spread to other areas not yet visited at dates still to be released.
Government’s participation in the campaign re-affirms its commitment to elevate the status of women, who have been, since time immemorial, marginalised when compared with their male counterparts.
It is also adhering to a number of international conventions that the country is a signatory to, which also call for the emancipation of women in the region and beyond.
The country struggled to meet the 30 percent women quota in the last Parliament as desired by a 1993 SADC convention, although the positive steps taken in that direction have been lauded by many observers, both locally and beyond.
In reality, the country has a lot more to do and balance the scales between men and women, especially since the African Union is now calling for a 50/50 gender representation in all sectors of life in any country in the continent.