Swapo Party makes history in implementing 50/50 gender quota

31 Aug 2014 15:50pm
WINDHOEK, 31 AUG (NAMPA) – The Swapo Party made history on Saturday following the successful election of its National Assembly candidates list on the basis of a 50/50 gender representation.
The 50/50 gender representation policy has given women an opportunity to participate on an equal footing with their male counterparts in the country’s legislative process
The 50/50 gender quota was adopted by the Swapo Party last year, after it amended its Constitution to allow for the equal representation of men and women in the party’s organs and structures.
Evidently, this quota system also played a part in preventing many prominent male Swapo veteran politicians from making the cut onto the party list of candidates for the next National Assembly.
The party’s two-day Electoral College on Saturday elected 96 people who will represent the Swapo in the upper legislative House, subject to the number of seats won in the National Assembly election at the end of this year.
The number of the seats in the National Assembly have effectively been increased from 72 to 96, while those in the National Council are to go up from 26 to 42.
Officially closing the Electoral College on Saturday evening, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said the amendment of the party Constitution has paved the way for greater recognition and empowerment of Namibian women.
He said there is no doubt hat gender balance within the organs and structures of the party will infuse new energy, vitality and diversity of ideas and experiences in the decision-making processes.
“This is a welcome and timely innovation which will strengthen and revitalise the Swapo Party in the immediate, medium and long term,” said Pohamba.
The Swapo Party President noted that the Electoral College has elected a winning team of dedicated men and women who are ready to serve the country and take the nation’s development agenda forward.
He said the elected candidates are drawn from a broad spectrum of professions and backgrounds.
“As such, they possess a wealth of experience and knowledge that will enable them to serve the nation effectively as lawmakers. I have no doubt that these candidates, once elected and sworn-in as Members of Parliament, will rise to the occasion and serve the nation with unparalleled enthusiasm and vigour,” said the Namibian Head of State.
Some of the Swapo old guard who did not make it onto the list include Petrina Haingura, Rosalia Nghidinwa, Richard Kamwi, Albert Kawana, Hilma Nicanor Jerry Ekandjo, Lempy Lucas, Uahekua Herunga, Peter Iilonga, Paulus Kapia, Ben Amadhila and Theo-Ben Gurirab.
And those who managed to make it onto the list, but who are to be found only at the very bottom of the party list include Angelikaa Muharukua (96), Isak Katali (95), Elia Kaiyamo (93), Eunice Iipinge (94), Magreth Mensah-Williams (90), Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana (86), Joel Kaapanda (85), Katrina Hanse-Himarwa (80), Jerry Ekandjo (81), Peya Mushelenga (73), Loide Kasingo (72) and Uutoni Nujoma (71).
The top 10 on the list are: Pohamba Shifeta, Agnes Kafula, Sebastian Karupu, Lucia Iipumbu, Bernahardt Esau, Priscilla Beukes, Tjekero Tweya, Lucia Witbooi, Charles Namholoh and Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Before the nomination and voting of names for the party list took place Saturday, eleven prominent Swapo Party members officially withdrew themselves from contesting for a place on the party list for the National Assembly elections.
These were Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku; Defence Minister Nahas Angula; former Deputy Prime Minister Libertine Amathila; Swapo Party Secretary for Information and Mobilization Helmut Angula; Swapo Member of Parliament Kazenambo Kazenambo; Swapo Party Coordinator for the Oshikoto Region Armas Amukwiyu; and Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) Secretary Dr Elijah Ngurare.
The list of people who withdrew further included the Swapo Party Coordinator for the Kavango West Region David Hamutenya; General-Secretary of the Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) Peter Nevonga; Oshana Regional Governor Clemence Kashuupulwa; and Swapo’s Coordinator for Omusati Region Eric Endjala.