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MP, women activists clash over new 39 constituencies

By Vision Reporter

Added 22nd July 2015 10:35 AM

Igara East Member of Parliament Micheal Mawanda has disagreed with women rights activists on the creation of more 39 constituencies by government that it will disfavour the latter come next year general elections.

Igara East Member of Parliament Micheal Mawanda has disagreed with women rights activists on the creation of more 39 constituencies by government that it will disfavour the latter come next year general elections.

By Francis Emorut                                                   

Igara East Member of Parliament Micheal Mawanda has disagreed with women rights activists on the creation of more 39 constituencies by government that it will disfavour the latter come next year general elections.


"Government is continuing to create more constituencies and this is going to marginalize women. Why not have two MPs both female and male?" Benedetta Plan, an activist," said.

Benedetta, who is also secretary of gender in Hoima district, pointed out that government was creating more problems for women since they can't win those newly created constituencies.

"Government is creating problem after problem. How many women are able to win against their male counterparts?" she asked.

Local Government minister Adolf Mwesige last week tabled before Parliament a plan to create 39 constituencies to take services nearer to the People.

Rev. Micheal Okwii Esakhan of Church of Uganda, Soroti Diocese (left) talks to the director of Action Aid Uagnda, Harriet Gimbo, during the regional conference on oil and gas and mineral extratives at Fairway Hotel in Kampala on July 21, 2015. Photo/Francis Emorut

Benedetta was supported by Harriet Gimbo, the director of programmes Action Aid Uganda, who noted that government should instead be more gender responsive to provide equal opportunity for both male and females.

Gimbo pointed out that the ground would not be leveled for women aspirants as they would be asked questions whether they are married or not.

Josephine Chandiru, senior gender development officer with the ministry of gender, labour and social development concurred with her fellow activists saying government should do better to promote gender equality despite some achievements.

She cited women MPs in Parliament lagging 30% behind Rwanda which has over 50% women representation in Parliament.

The Dutch Ambassador, Alphons Hennekens (centre); the board chairman Global Rights Alert, Dr. Hizaamu Ramadhan (left) and Christine Lain, senior country advisor of DRC, addressing participants during the openning of regional conference on oil and gas and minera extratives at Fairway Hotel in Kampala on July 21, 2015. Photo/Francis Emorut

Chandiru underscored the need to have equal representation in sectors like oil and gas, mineral resources and armed forces which are male dominated.

"We need women to be part and parcel of it for sustainable development," Chandiru said.

Winnie Ngabiirwe, executive director of Global Rights Alert, observed that it was high time women also attained 50/50 representation in all sectors.

The women rights advocates made the remarks during the regional conference on oil and gas held under theme: "Gender and the Extractives Natural Resources and Development; Seen through the gender Lens."

The conference hosted by Global Rights Alert attracted delegates from Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Democratic of Congo and South Sudan.

Participants posing for a group photograph after the openning of regional conference on oil and gas and mineral extratives at Fairway Hotel in Kampala on July 21, 2015. Photo/Francis Emorut

To drive his point home on gender equity, Dickens Kamugisha, the chief executive officer of Africa Institute for Energy Governance reminded the audience that in 2013 Uganda Petroleum Institute Kigumba (UPIK) produced 27 graduates out of which one female graduated.

The UN WOMEN deputy country representative, Anna Mutarati, stressed the need for private sector to sign up for women empowerment principle to achieve equity.

She noted that in order for this to succeed there is need for government policy to guide the process.
 
Lawmaker Mawanda, while responding to the women activists' concerns' reminded them that government had already ringed fenced women representation for the districts.

"The slot (new constituency) is open. Let's compete. We have already given you 30% that would be too much for women," Mawanda said.

"Kindly let's compete because there are constituencies where women have defeated men," he stated.

The Dutch Ambassador, Alphons Hennekens, told delegates that concerted efforts by all stakeholders should be made to aim at ensuring equitable participation of women and men for the country's development.
 

MP, women activists clash over new 39 constituencies

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