Zebra Style May Split Swapo – Diescho

POLITICAL analyst Joseph Diescho has warned that the proposed zebra style gender representation in parliament may split the ruling party.

Diescho said this during a public lecture at the NamPower Convention Centre on Tuesday.

The event was organised by Konrad Adenauer Foundation under the theme: “The 5050 gender balance: A challenge for Namibia.”

“We have acquired a good reputation as a stable, peaceful, democratic country, so what is the problem that we are trying to solve? If you commit yourself so vociferously, ferociously, there should be something that needs to be solved. Is it a human rights problem? A democracy problem? We are not very clear,” said Diescho.

He said that getting the gender representation at parliament level is only symbolic and not substantive like in the case of the United States of America, a country that only has 18% women representation in Congress.

Diescho further pointed out that it is really not the number of women in parliament that matters but rather their quality.

“We cannot say that by having more women in parliament the quality of legislation will be better. If it is about serving the nation better, then we should be looking for quality men and women,” said Diescho, adding that there are women who want to get into parliament not because they are knowledgeable but just because they are women.

The political analyst said the nation needs to develop an inner want to work on democracy because it is not about representation but about the nation: “You cannot think of gender equality along the democracy lines.”

Nangula Shejavali, researcher for the Institute of Public Policy and Research, pointed out that the country has currently embraced gender equality on a theoretical level and what needs to be done is to put it in practice.

Shejavali said women make up 51% of the population and it is unacceptable that there are fewer women represented in parliament.

According to her, there are several challenges that need to be addressed when it comes to equal representation in parliament.

“CoD is one of the parties that is very keen on equal gender representation in parliament but when you only have one person representing you, then it does not go far,” said Shejavali.

Swapo on the other hand has the greatest opportunity to implement the zebra system as they are a bigger group but there is a need to look at the quality that both male and female candidates have to acquire these positions, said Shejavali.

She, however, said there is a need to challenge the status quo and overcome the challenges of implementing the equal gender representation.

Source : The Namibian