As we approach our elective conferences, I am making an appeal to all women that this is one of those opportunities for us to demonstrate our” Might” as women! This is the time in our history where we need to dispel all clichés’, myths and stereotypes about us not supporting one another. It is the time where we encourage women to stand for election and also rally behind all those who have taken up the courageous position to stand for elections in this patriarchal society of ours, knowing very well that the odds are stacked high against them. These women have stood up, daunting as the task maybe, they have stood up nevertheless. We are all therefore duty bound as women to stand beside them as they fight for our inclusiveness and acceptance as equals in this male dominated world of politics.
Women, our plight in this country is no different to the plight of the black South African in the apartheid era, where though they were a majority they were excluded in the governance structures of their country. We constitute 52% of the population of Botswana and yet have only 8% representation in the national assembly, thereby ruled by the minority. When one pictures that 50 years down the line, since independence, we have had less than 20 women in the national assembly out of which only 5 (inclusive of the two opposition) got in through elections first time around, whilst the rest had to put their foot in through special elections first, and worst still many of those specially elected could not even get their second term on their own bidding. Furthermore, just as the blacks under the apartheid regime to whom violence and jail were the norm, we also are prisoners in our homesteads and continue to suffer mental and physical abuse under the hands of our minority rulers. But unlike the apartheid victims, we have the power and the means at our disposal to free ourselves from this bondage, without the blood shed that they endured. Elections are the means at our disposal now to demonstrate the power we have in our numbers, to rally behind all those women standing for elections thereby increasing our numbers in political leadership. Our revolution, like charity, must and shall begin at home and now is the time!
Batswana women, Equity will and shall remain an elusive dream if we do not take up this challenge now to ensure that we at the least realize 30% representation in our respective central committees as per the SADC gender protocol. We must ensure that all women who are standing up for the internal elections have our full support. It would be shameful and a serious indictment for us, to say the least, for any of the women standing for regional or central committee to loose against their male counter parts, especially in light of the large numbers of voters being us women. Bear it in your minds that this is our fight and that NO ONE is going to do it for us!
As the BCPWL president, I call on all of you fellow women in politics that it is time we proved it to our male counterparts that we have the power. As the saying goes, “They maybe the heads, but we are the neck, as such we decide which direction the head turns”.
Let us all go out there and “DEMONSTRATE OUR MIGHT”