Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Mixed feelings over Somolakae parliamentary appointment

Last week’s appointment of Dr. Gloria Somolekae, who has not been active in politics, as the new Specially Elected Member of Parliament, has raised mixed feelings among women organizations.

In an interview with Sunday Standard, Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) Interim Chairperson Women’s League, Binkie Kerileng, said it is difficult to celebrate Dr. Somolekae’s appointment over the fall of another woman who they have known in politics for a long time.

“While we do not dispute her capabilities, she is new to politics and gender issues,” said Kerileng. She stated that it is difficult to believe that former Minister Lesego Motsumi had requested for her demotion to diplomatic service.

She said it would be better if the number of women in Parliament does not go down.
“We feel Motsumi has also been representing women in the Southern Region of the country,” said Kerileng.

Gender links Botswana Director, Keoobonye Ntsabane, said Somolekae’s appointment alone shows the realization and appreciation by politicians of the critical importance of women participation. She stated that both the ruling and opposition parties reached a consensus to nominate only women. “We are happy that women are given opportunity to decision making positions in the political arena,” said Ntsabane.

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General Women’s League, Keneilwe Mathangwane, said they are happy with Somolekae’s appointment as she filled the position that was previously held by another woman.

She said Somolekae knows what Batswana need after her experience in 2004 when she was the Chairperson of Vision 2016.

Mathangwane stated that her voice would cover other women’s affairs in the country.
“We are happy for her even if she was not politically active in the BDP because her record shows that she has the right skills and experience,” said Mathangwane, who added that she observed that President Khama has confidence in the leadership of women.

Mathangwane also cited the appointment of Dr. Atalia Molokomme when she was appointed the Attorney General, as a woman who was not active in politics before.

“We wish to see women developing and progressing regardless of political their home,” said Mathangwane.

Somolekae started Parliament duty last Tuesday. She has been an academic, activist and a development practitioner and has led the Election Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) regional observer mission to the presidential and national assembly in Namibia in 2004.

She is also the former Vision 2016 Chairperson and Former Chairperson of UB Democracy Project.


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