Sunday, February 5, 2023

BNF women league president blasts opposition disunity

The Botswana National Front Women’s League (BNFWL) President Dr. Bonang Nkoane has criticized the ongoing disunity among the opposition parties saying leaders of the opposition block are missing an opportune time to unseat the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

In her solidarity message delivered at the just ended BCP Women’s League Elective Congress (BCPWL) Nkoane fell short of calling on leaders of opposition parties to swallow their egos for the sake of the nation.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I wish to end my speech with a call for solidarity, a call for unity in things that matter… as women,” said Nkoane. She added that “regime change in Botswana is long overdue. Our people are suffering. Comrades, we owe it to our children and our children’s children.”

She further stated that: “Let us come together in unity, let us put aside our differences and focus on the main purpose of our calling – emancipation of our people from economic slavery, from the claws of the merciless BDP.”

Nkoane who was in her element further stated: “Let us stop this egoistic war.”

“Men seem to have failed us in that regard. Isn’t it time that as women we stand together and bring these men together? Even our slogans can testify to this…,” she said.

She said: “So when we speak of a New Botswana, this is the New Botswana we talk about, an all- inclusive Botswana where Batswana are equal, where Batswana equally enjoy the natural resources of this country, where no Motswana sleeps on a hungry stomach, where a Motswana has a roof over their head and most importantly for us as women, a Botswana where there is gender justice!”

She described women are the cornerstone of every political movement: they mobilise, the campaign, they fundraise…there is nothing that a woman does not do in our political struggle.

“Comrades, we are here today because you are going to elect a new leadership that will assume office albeit under very difficult economic times. Inflation is at its all time high at 14.8%, unemployment stands at 26%,” she said.

She said Batswana are paid peanuts, yet government has raised taxes a countless time in this year alone.

“Looting of government coffers, taxpayers’ money, your money, by the BDP elites continues,” she said. Nkoane said corruption is rampant to the extent that for the first time the country’s democracy is under serious threat.

“Every country that has been led by tyrants started like this, where one man centers all power to himself. Idi Amin did it, so did Hitler…while the masses stood aside and turned a blank eye to the imminent tyranny building up,” she said.

Nkoane said no country can hope to move forward if its people, its women and children are trapped in endless cycles of abject poverty, when they do not have the health care they need, they die because there are no vital medicines for their high blood pressure, diabetes.

She said it was about time that women stand up and be counted.  “For a country like ours where more than 55% of the population are women, more than 50% of voters are women, why do we have a paltry 4% women in parliament (none for opposition) and 11 % in council?” she asked rhetorically.

She added that: “Does it make sense that the minority (men) make decisions for the majority (women)? It is about time that we, women, must take ourselves seriously. Let us demand our space in the political arena.”

“If we could all, women from all political parties, irrespective of party colours, speak with one voice…we need to demand special dispensation for women in the upcoming 2024 general election quotas for women so that we see many women standing for elections,” Nkoane said.

She said there is need to demand special funding for women. “When I say this, it is not because we need special treatment, but it is a fact world-wide that women are marginalized by the patriarch system that has encroached our lives since time memorial,” she said.  Nkoane said at the BNF “we have recently managed to get our central committee to resolve to commit to at least 30% quota for women and other marginalized groups for the 2024 elections and have special funding for them.”

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