The commercialization of politics and rampant corruption undermines the empowerment of women, says Serere Woman MP Alice Alaso.
By Francis Emorut
MBALE - The commercialization of politics as well as the rampant corruption undermines the empowerment of women, says Serere Woman MP Alice Alaso.
“The commercialization of politics and the general hemorrhage that causes loss of public funds undermines women empowerment,” she told participants attending a regional Women in Politics conference.
The conference convened by Forum for Women in Democracy was held at Pretoria Hotel in Mbale district at the close of the week.
The legislator argued that women are capable of becoming good national leaders but are hampered by endemic corruption and monetization of electoral politics.
“Most women are really good leaders. Socio-economic issues are very close to their hearts. Their nature of socialization shows that they manage the welfare of society very well,” she said.
Alaso called for civic education to create awareness among the populace to discourage commercialization of politics and fight graft so that the resources are channeled for service delivery.
“Money for immunization of our children, resettlement of war torn areas and medical care has been swindled by some corrupt officials, how can success be realized with such greed?” she asked.
Participants were urged to make women’s issues as a campaign strategy if they are to realize their dreams. PHOTO/Francis Emorut
Alaso who is the chairperson of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at Parliament called upon women leaders and all stakeholders to combat corruption.
She hinted that campaigns are extremely expensive and most aspirants don’t have skills required to manage campaigns and therefore, need to mobilize seed capital to train and mentor the aspiring women leaders.
‘Women leagues must be strengthened’
Presenting a paper titled: “Emerging trends Women and Politics in Uganda,” the lawmaker underlined the need to strengthen women leagues.
“Women leagues must be strengthened as it is in most political parties where the leagues are only peripheral,” she noted.
“Political parties are run and managed on a very patriarchal arrangement. To advance women’s agenda, women should occupy positions of decision-making in political parties. Failure to do this reduces women to instruments of tokenism.”
Serere Woman MP Alice Alaso (R) chats with the former Bokora county MP Emeritus Apuun at the conference. PHOTO/Francis Emorut
She outlined critical issues that need to be addressed in eastern region, including natural disasters, girl child education and delivery of health services especially child and maternal health, security of border districts and land ownership.
The FDC secretary general called on women to make women’s issues as a campaign strategy if they are to realize their dreams.
“You must make women’s agenda a political and a campaign issue otherwise you will be taken for granted,” she advised.
‘Disservice to our nation’
The opposition politician encouraged women to do research so that they arm themselves with important information when voicing their concerns.
On their part, the women at the conference her to explain why MPs have huge allowances and high salaries when teachers’ and health workers’ pay is very low.
“Parliament has done a disservice to our nation by appropriating themselves with big salaries and yet teachers and health workers are underpaid. Can’t you come with a motion to cut your salary by 15%?” asked Elizabeth Saaba, a district councilor from Kibuku district.
Women chating with deputy RDC Mbale Pamela Watuwa (third left) at Pretoria Hotel in Mbale. PHOTO/Francis Emorut
Alaso replied that it was the Parliamentary Commission that takes charge of MPs’ pay and fuel allowances are determined from the constituency an MP comes from.
She explained that MPs from far districts such as Abim, Kabong and Katido are highly paid while those from Kampala take about sh600,000 for fuel.
The women in eastern and Karamoja region demanded for their own ministry rather than being bundled together with the ministry of gender, labour and social development.
“The ministry of gender, labour and social development should be broken down so that we have ministry of women,” said Betty Byanyima.
The conference was attended by women district speakers and councilors, women farmers, district planners and Mothers Union as well as women from civil society organizations.
‘Commercialization of politics limits women’