Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Speech delivered by his honour the vice president, lt. Gen. Mompati merafhe, mp, delivered at the bdp women's wing workshop on women empowerment

source: Republic of Botswana (22/8/09): TAUTONA TIMES no 22 of 2009
The Electronic Press Circular of the Office of the President
"Democracy, Development, Dignity and Discipline"


[Salutations]...Ladies and Gentlemen

1. I am happy to be with you this afternoon to witness yet another effort through which the Botswana Democratic Party seeks to empower its women. My information is that the BDP Women's Wing has put together a comprehensive programme to empower women candidates ahead of the 2009 elections. Through this workshop, women would be equipped with the appropriate set of skills that they would need to compete with their male counterparts in the coming general elections.

2. As Vice President, I am only too delighted to be associated with an initiative such as this one because I sincerely believe that there is desperate need to have more of our women in decision-making structures and processes. Following Hon. Tshireletso's motion, government came up with a bill to increase the number of Specially Elected Members of Parliament from four to eight. As an indication of how much support there is for this bill at executive level, the President has told a BDP gathering like this one that he will ensure that of the eight Specially Elected MPs, four are women. This affirmative action policy would give women a greater stake in decision-making at a national level.

3. This workshop is evidence of your own determination as women to claim greater space in the political arena. In order to realise your goals, I urge you to traverse the length and breadth of this country and aggressively mobilise the women vote.

4. If we are to attain the goals of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), we have to promote gender equality and ensure women actively participate in the decision-making for the successful implementation of those MDGs. The significance of this workshop is that it would give participants an opportunity to wrap their minds around issues of gender and local governance which are directly linked to broader national issues. It would also enable participants to draw strength from each other, as well as to forge appropriate strategies to increase women participation in governance.

5. If we are ever going to be able to address the stark imbalances in the political power structure, we ought to have political will which will be translated into an appropriate framework. The road ahead will be long but that challenge should strengthen your resolve to rise above adverse circumstances you find yourselves in. Time has also come for you to put aside your differences and fight as a united force. That is how all major battles are fought and how major victories come about.

6. Director of Ceremonies, the one other importance of this workshop is that it would serve as a vehicle through which the views of women would be fine-tuned and relayed to the Party leadership. I will therefore be eagerly awaiting the final report of this workshop.

7. Bagaetsho, one of the reasons our party has grown from strength to strength is because we hold near and dear to our hearts the notion of therisanyo - consultation. Holding this workshop reaffirms our commitment to therisanyo. The Party is currently grappling with a host of challenges but even under such circumstances, relegating women's issues to the back seat could never be an option.

Director of Ceremonies, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,

8. With those few remarks, it is my distinct honour to declare the Botswana Democratic Party Women Wing Workshop officially opened. I thank

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