Ugandan women call for greater involvement in key roles of government:
In Uganda, women activists and politicians have advised President Yoweri Museveni to appoint a woman in the remaining position of the third premier. Speaking during the National Women Political Convention under the theme; ‘Strengthening Women's Influence for Gender Responsiveness and Political Accountability’ at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala on Thursday, women said that they need more representation at all levels, right from political parties' leadership.
The executive director ACFODE, Regina Bafaki said out of the 80 cabinet appointments, women only take 33% of the positions which is unfair. ‘We need more cabinet posts and other key positions in government. We also need more Ambassadors, Permanent Secretaries, Undersecretaries and key positions in political parties which can influence policies,’ she noted.
However, within public service, of the 112 Chief Administrative Officers in Uganda, only 17 are women, out of 29 permanent secretaries only six are women, and of 29 undersecretaries 14 are women, while out of 126 Ambassadors and their deputies only 63 are women.
Ritah Aciro, the executive director, Uganda Women's Network (UWONET) noted that if it was not affirmative action, women representation would only be 19 MPs for the directly elected seats. She said there is need for political parties and other stakeholder to build capacity among women to stand for directly elected seats against men in 2021.
Mathias Kamp, the KAS country representative said the performance of women has improved compared in the 2011 where only 11 were elected on directly elected seats, saying much still needs to be done to support them for more positions in 2021. Kamp said having more women in key positions helps them influence government policies.
Florence Muhwezi, the chairperson ACFODE, said there is need to engage all stakeholders to strategise, to rescue and empower women, right from the grassroots if they are to overcome this challenge.
Margaret Rwabushaija, the workers MP said more women should be given a chance to serve because they are better administrators than men.
Angelline Osegge, the Soroti district Woman MP said there are many qualified women who can take up key positions to serve the country.
‘I believe we have many competitive women in Uganda. There is nothing wrong if they are given opportunity,’ she noted.
Women leaders and activists are asking for more cabinet appointments saying the 33% of ministerial positions accorded them should be raised to 50%.
The demand from the activists was made as elected leaders from 13 districts and members of the civil society converged in Kampala to discuss their role in politics over the next five years.
Out of Uganda’s 31 ministries, 11 are occupied by women. 17 out of the 49 state ministers are women. The women leaders and activists argue that given their numerical advantage and their role during the election campaigns, this is an unfair allocation.
However, the woman MP for Soroti district Angelina Osege feels that women should instead front their capabilities and not their gender as they demand to be given more cabinet posts.
The women want the President to appoint a woman as the Third Deputy Prime minister and maintain leave them the fisheries state minister position which had been given to Joy Ruth Aching but which was later withdrawn.
Sources told NTV that the women have listed some names they will forward to the President. These include: Irene Ovongi Odida , a lawyer and member of FIDA Uganda, Miria Matembe, former ethics ministerand Cecilia Ogwal, a member of the FDC and Dokolo district woman member of parliamentDespite affirmative action, women’s participation in politics remains rather low with only 19 women making it to parliament in directly-elected seats. The women at the gathering today believe women should be given the chance to share equally in political parties leadership structures.