Pohamba: elect-women MP's less traditional reasoning

10 Mar 2015 07:20am
WINDHOEK, 10 MAR (NAMPA) - A first of its kind seminar aimed at equipping newly elected female Members of Parliament (MP) with skills
to confidently contribute to discussions in parliament convened at Gross Barmen on Monday.
Officially opening the five-day seminar that ends on Saturday, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said the National Assembly (NA) elections
held in November last year resulted in the highest numbers of female MPs in the country’s history.
Namibia will for the first time after 25 years of independence have over 40 per cent women representation in the NA.
“This is a noteworthy development for our democracy in general and specifically with regard to the empowerment of women,
guided by the principle of inclusivity,” he said.
According to Pohamba, traditional and cultural norms have put Namibian women at lower levels.
The out-going Head of State remembered how during discussions held in the rural north of Namibia prior the 2014 NA elections; elderly women questioned him on the decision to make 50/50 gender representation in the NA a reality.
The women, Pohamba said spoke against the 50/50 women and men representation in all party structures, telling him that Namibians
are Christians and that the decision was therefore not welcome.
“So I want to say to you, colleagues please move away from the traditional way of doing things otherwise, you will always be confronted
and convinced by the cultural way of living,” he advised the soon-to-be lawmakers.
Pohamba then informed the women that former Deputy Prime Minister and the first female Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Libertina Amathila,
who also attended the event, left wonderful marks.
He said she changed things in all ministries that she led such as the Ministry of Regional Government and Housing.
“Katutura before independence had very few roads that were paved. However she took a step to assure that the streets in Katutura are paved to look like elsewhere in the city,” he told the gathering.
Encouraging the MP’s-elect in attendance, the President said, “If Libertina Amathila could do it, why can you not do it. She did it, and I believe you can do it too.”
The seminar will cover a wide range of topics addressing issues of both national and international nature.
Among others, it will also look into the issue of women's role in conflict prevention, peacemaking and maintenance.