Botswana political parties are putting forward names of women for leadership positions as their try to hog the political correctness moral high ground ahead of the October general elections.
Leading the pack with the most number of women standing for parliament is the the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) with women forming 11% of the confirmed standing candidates.
The Botswana Democratic Party, the country’s ruling party for the last 44 years, follows the BCP with about 5.3% of women representatives in parliament.
According to Moeti Mohwasa, publicity secretary for the opposition Botswana National Front (BNF), the party cannot reveal any information yet because they have not completed the overall process of choosing candidates.
“The BNF has opted to hold another round of primary elections on the 14th of February; that is when confirmation of how many women are involved in the race for parliament would be made,” said Mohwasa.
Assumptions made by politicians in general is that women have long had a problem presenting their issues in parliament, with most unwilling to be associated with the “dirty” reputation that is given to politics.
With the rise of feminism and democracy, women are slowly adapting to their new positions of power and are now claiming bigger responsibilities than before, some being leadership positions.
The political parties took it upon themselves to empower and attract women to leadership positions within their camps so as to include women in decision-making schemes and attract a reluctant number of women voters.
But the problem of low contribution to parliament by women still poses a threat for the parties.
According to BDP’s Executive secretary, Comma Serema, the BDP has a number of strategies in place to bring about more women on board.
Amongst them being countless seminars and workshops aimed at empowering women for leadership positions.
“And, of course, we had quite a number of them but some had to drop out because they lost to better candidates; this is democracy after all,” said Serema.
Meanwhile, Kagiso Tshwene, the BCP’s executive secretary, claims to be proud of the progress his party had made in terms of recruiting women for parliament.
“In the last election, the party only had 5.5% of women, the percentage has now doubled,” said Tshwene.
According to Tshwene, the BCP plans to entice women into parliamentary seats by making special arrangements for different women ‘categories’.
This is whereby top leadership would address rallies in some constituencies to encourage women to stand for parliament.
The party also has a newsletter with a centerfold of profiles dedicated entirely to women who aspire to become representatives.
“Despite the special arrangement made for women’s constituencies, the party has a team of experts holding workshops and sending women for international conferences in London,” said Tshwene.