The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Women’s Wing will from the 16th to 18th May, 2013 convene in Kang for its biennial conference.
The Wing’s Secretary, Councillor Keneilwe Mathangwane, told Sunday Standard in a telephone interview that due to the proximity of ‘bulela ditswe’ and elections there are not much new issues to be discussed. She said while the party’s theme for this year is ‘secure your future with the party you trust’, the sub theme for women is ‘visibility, availability and trustworthiness’. They will end the congress with election of new committee; something that they do every two years.
Speaking of challenges her wing faces in the political game, Mathangwane said, “We try to participate in the bulela ditswe primary elections. Women come in numbers to participate in the primaries but a few manage to penetrate to the general elections.”
She said often, as women, when they bring a woman representative they find that their number is much lower than that of the male representative standing for the same seat. It is perhaps for this reason that Mathangwane expresses hope that this time around men would voluntarily pave way to women candidates in situations where a woman’s merit is beyond doubt but has to contest with men.
“Constitutionally, we all should stand and compete with each other. So we cannot say men should pave way for women participants. It is their right to stand for office, they may do that voluntarily if the modern slogan that with gender agenda we are heading ahead is to be exercised,” said Mathangwane.
Asked how the BDP as a ruling party is handling the issue 30 percent representation of women in political office, Mathangwane said they have invited the BDP strategic team to the conference so that they accordingly tackle the issue. They, as women, are going to present to the committee their objectives.
She said they have invited all the 57 constituencies to the conference. They thus are expecting women representatives from these constituencies. The representatives should be prepared to dwell on important issues that will craft their future.
Mathangwane said they have, as the main objective of the conference, to raise political conscience on women and encourage them to take political seats. They should take part in presenting themselves and seeking political office so as to ensure that there is maximum representation of women in all decision making bodies. It is important that they abide by the Women’s Wing sub-theme.
“We are visible in the party, in the country in our homes and we are equally trust worthy so we should prove our worth in increased political representation,” she said.