SELIBE-PHIKWE:Botswana Congress Party(BCP) Women’s wing hascalled for the implementation ofthe party constitution, insistingthat the party no longer followsthat which was adopted.The women’s wing raised theconcerns during the BCPWomen’s league meeting, whichwas held prior to the nationalcongress this past weekend. Theyfeel certain clauses within theconstitution are defi ed, and thatthe constitution has sidelinedthem.They argued that while most ofthe concerns are documented inthe constitution, sometimes theyare afraid to question decisionstaken by the party leadership asthey are not involved in decisionmaking processes.
BCP Secretary for PoliticalEducation Florence Shagwaconfi rmed that indeed some of theclauses in their party constitutionare not followed especially thoseentailing women’s participationin the party and decision making.She highlighted that although theconstitution clearly states thatwomen should make 30 per centin every party structure that hasnot been the case. “The partyconstitution stipulates that inall party structures 30 per centshould be women. This was theaffi rmative action made so thatwomen’s voices could be heardduring decision making but theclause has since been overlookedas most structures do not havewomen representatives.
Despitethis, women are still reluctant toquestion these because they lackcourage,” she lamented furthercalling on all the women to knowtheir rights in the party.She stated that since theWomen’s wing is now aware ofthe wrong practice, they shouldthen look for any structure withinthe party which does not havethe 30 per cent representationand report it to the committeeas it will be an indicationthat the structure defi ed theconstitution. “Including womenin the party structure is the onlyway of empowering them. Thisis the only way that can givewomen courage and confi denceof contesting for party positionsagainst their male counterparts,”highlighted Shagwa.
For her part, Women’s wingPresident Tebogo Dingakehighlighted that though theparty president came up with asuggestion that was later adoptedas a resolution during the Sefhareconference, which called for anaffi rmative action programme toenable women full participationin decision making process,nothing was done to implementthe resolution.“It should be noted that that theempowerment of women doesnot only concern them. It is anissue that should not be relegatedto women alone but should beviewed as an issue that womenthemselves must spearhead.
There is no doubt that the leagueas an auxiliary organ of the BCPhas to play a vital role in drawingpolicies of the organizationparticularly empowerment ofwomen,” noted Dingake.To this regard Dingakeproposed the introduction ofinvoluntary membership, insteadof thinking and taking for grantedthat all BCP women are membersof the league. “This would entaildual membership which declaressomeone as the member of boththe party and the women’s league.This move can make the womenleague to be vibrant because theywill be committed,” she stressed.