Gender Links and Botswana Media Women’s Association urge Botswana to go out in large number to cast their vote tomorrow October 16th 2009. According to Gender Links Coordinator Keabonye Ntsabane, Batswana have no excuse of not knowing who their candidates are and they want to be voted.
There has been a lot of publicity in both electronic and print media of men and women candidates of all political parties. Three workshops were held in Francistown, Gaborone and Ramotswa in which women standing and running for political office were trained on media campaigning skills.
Gender Links has held workshops in partnership with the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) in 6 district councils, targeting councilors and council officials. The workshops discussed the importance of women and men in political and decision making positions. The workshop also revealed that, in the 16 districts in Botswana the majority in council leadership are men and therefore it is imperative that political parties ensure that women are given an opportunity to participate in leadership positions of their parties. With these efforts Gender Links believes that voters will share their votes among men and women, who are standing for both parliament and council positions in tomorrow’s elections.
In the previous elections women’s participation in political leadership was very low and this alone does not enhance the democracy we pride ourselves about.
Botswana is one of the countries, who believe in democracy, democracy is government by the people for the people. It is therefore vital that both men and women become visible in democratic processes; power shared is not power diminished but power multiplied.
Gender Links therefore requests the incoming President to consider fielding women across party lines in the special nominations incase they do not make it during the elections. Gender Links does not believe that if men and women are specially elected they are thrown in through the window. It sees it as addressing equality in governance structures and ultimately upholding real democracy.
Gender Links thanks both the private and the government media for the balanced, vigorous and rigorous publicity for both men and women before elections. This is a historic move as compared to the 2004 general elections. We further than the political parties for providing women space to contest.