Windhoek — The recent financial workshop by the Swapo Party Women's Council at the Penduka Centre had nothing to do with politics, but was purely to empower women with financial know-how and management skills, says Petrina Haingura, Secretary of the Swapo Party Women's Council (SPWC).
Haingura is not pleased with the inferences in media reports that the media statement by Eunice Iipinge of the Swapo Party Women's Council, to support female candidates, was discussed at the Penduka Centre workshop.
"The topics covered were well presented and the participants learnt a lot. At no point did the women discuss and agree on the issue of the candidates that the women should rally behind," Haingura said. The financial workshop took place on November 17, and Iipinge's statement was issued on November 18.
Iipinge's statement urged delegates attending the November 29 to December 02 Swapo Party congress to vote for female candidates. There are 46 women candidates for the Central Committee positions. The Swapo Party Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana is the only woman contesting the party's vice-presidency against the incumbent, Dr Hage Geingob, and Jerry Ekandjo, who is the information and mobilisation secretary of the party.
Whoever succeeds in clinching the vice-presidency of the party would ultimately stand as the party's candidate in the country's presidential election in 2014.
According to Iipinge's statement, voting for female candidates would be in line with the women council's resolutions of December 2011 and the Swapo Party policy conference that endorsed the SADC Protocol on a 50/50 gender representation in decision-making structures.
"We are encouraged and motivated that at the level of the top four positions, two women are standing ... Iivula- Ithana for the vice-president and [Omaheke Regional Governor] Laura McLeod for the position of deputy secretary general. We have also with appreciation noted that 46 women candidates are standing for the Central Committee positions. We recognise the individual democratic right to decide on which candidates one will give his or her vote. However, we are calling on all congress delegates, who are involved in exercising their rights and political obligation, to consider the relevant provisions of the Swapo Party constitution and resolutions that call for gender equality. Comrades, male and female delegates, vote for women candidates," said Iipinge.
Subsequent media reports on Iipinge's statement inferred that it had something to do with the workshop that took place the previous day. However, Haingura rubbished the media reports saying they are "misleading" and hence her need to "put the record straight".
"The women are united as the congress is approaching. We are ready as a united front to elect our leaders to lead us in the next five years. We need a unifier, a leader with big ears to listen to us; a leader who looks back to those who elected them to power and most importantly to change the living conditions of our people, women, men and the youth of this country," said Haingura.