27 September 2008
Vote a woman campaign’ a success – Nonhlanhla
By Fanyana Mabuza
The Programme Manager of the Gender Coordination Unit at the Ministry of Home Affairs is one of the people who is still adamant that the Vote for a woman campaign was a success, even though the desired number of women going to Parliament was not reached.
Nonhlanhla Dlamini said it should be remembered by all that this campaign was a first of its kind in the country and they still managed to hold sensitisation workshops in a 100 communities, where the turnout was impressive.
This is why they hope the seeds they planted in these communities will bear fruition in the 2013 elections.
"I do agree that the outcome was not what we hoped for, but some of the women who had entered the race highlighted what they believed worked against them in both primaries and secondaries." Dlamini said the woman spoke about a number of things among them the fact that woman candidates had only two weeks to campaign. These were the weeks after the primaries, when campaigning was officially allowed. They said the men began campaigning a long time ago, even when campaigning was illegal.
"The women also mentioned the problem of finance, saying they had to ask for money to from their male counterparts (read husbands), while the males held the purse strings and could do anything at any given time.
"They have the cars to ferry locals to and from soccer games. They even have livestock which they can sell and use the money they got to promote their intentions to go to Parliament long before the election race began. Women did not have this kind of opportunities."
She continued that after passing the primaries, some women received threats, insults and many other derogatory remarks like they were trying to grow male sex organs by trying to make their way into Parliament.
"But we are not fazed as this is a process and can not bear fruit overnight. One important aspect we learnt is that we should begin preparing now for the 2013 election. We should begin mobilising for funds right now and keep up the tempo until the next election. That is the biggest lesson we learnt and we are happy about that and do not mind not reaching our target of bringing more women into Parliament this time around. We do acknowledge that we begun very late. This is a process like trying to convert a person into Christianity and you do not expect results immediately" Dlamini stated.
Statistics showed that in the 2003 elections more women than men voted, with figures showing 119 970 women voters while only 109 703 men voted.
This is one field the 'Vote for Women Campaign' has to work hard on, as women tend to think only men can make their lot better, opting to vote for them rather their own.