Young politicians from the United States of America who visited Botswana last week have admitted that just like Botswana, the country is still lagging behind in women representation in politics.
Addressing journalists on Thursday, the young politicians who are members of the senate and House of Representatives said although USA is one of the oldest democracies in the world there are few women in position of leadership. Erica Thomas, member of Georgia House of Representatives said as women in politics they always support each but a lot still needs to be done.
Thomas said although Botswana is also lagging behind, it is still a new democracy and can improve over time. She said although there is minimal representation of women in politics in the US they constitute the majority of voters. According to the World Bank report on the Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments United States has 19% while Botswana is at 10%.
Thomas said that she was impressed by the system used in Namibia which is equal representation between men and women and expressed her desire to have it emulated by other countries. Another challenge that the two countries share is voter apathy which is prevalent among the youth. Organisation for Youth and Elections in Botswana (OYEBO) which was hosting the delegation said through their organisation they have managed to reduce apathy among young people in the last elections. Frank LaRose member of Ohio Senate said that voter apathy in the US is still a challenge and they are trying to show voters especially the youth the importance of excessing their voting rights.
Susan Closmore, Director of Public Affairs at Minnesota House Republican Caucus said that voter education is the key in eliminating voter apathy and applauded OYEBO for encouraging the youth to participate in elections.
Political party funding has been a major issue in Botswana politics for a long time with most stakeholders reasoning that it will help strengthen democracy. OYEBO Secretary General Rebaone Mmereki said as the youth they support political party funding as it will enhance democracy in the country.
Frank LaRose of the Republican said that in the US political funding is very minimal as what is common in the world’s powerful state is contributions from party members and organizations, which share their political views like trade union affiliation fees or which stand to benefit from their activities.