Because of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe, Botswana still remains one of the four countries in southern Africa that hasn’t signed the SADC gender and development protocol.
The protocol, which is expected to highlight differences in the lives of the region’s women, had recently been approved by SADC heads of state at the 2008 SADC summit held in Johannesburg.
Botswana’s current president, Ian Khama, had boycotted the summit in protest against the presence of acclaimed Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe.
Since Botswana wasn’t represented at the summit and therefore could not sign, the protocol cannot be implemented in the country without the government’s approval.
These were steps backward for the draft protocol, which had been through countless editing’s for a number of years to finally become a legal document.
The association had been vouching for signage ever since the first launch of the protocol in 2005.
According to the regional head of SADC’s Gender and Development Committee, Elsie Alexander, ever since August last year, the alliance had been trying extensively to involve governments in talks for signage.
“A plan of action to prod the Botswana government to sign the document has been drafted; the issue at hand is that this is a new leadership and all along we were dealing with the past leadership so we will have to consult extensively to make our voices heard. We have been consulting with the minister who promises to present our case to those in power,” said Alexander.
It’s reported that last year the former president of Botswana, Festus Mogae, was prepared to sign the protocol but due to the reluctance of other members of his government this mission became a flop. It is in this context that SADC branch believes that they should endeavor to win the confidence of the president Ian Khama, and consequently his Government.
According to official statistics, women form 52% of the population in Botswana, yet they have the least number of representatives in all civic organizations.
Women empowerment in Botswana is apparently still stuck at its infancy stage with.