26 November 2012

Namibia: Swapo Shelves Gender Equality

GENDER equality and inner party governance within Swapo will not be on the agenda of this week’s congress.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba made the announcement at the official opening of the Central Committee meeting on Friday.

This means that the implementation of 50/50 gender representation might be delayed as the amendment of the Swapo constitution will only be discussed during an extraordinary congress next year.

The proposed amendments could not be presented in time to the Swapo Central Committee for endorsement and submission to the congress.

“The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Swapo Party, at its meeting held on 19thNovember 2012, therefore resolved to submit the proposed amendments to this Central Committee Meeting. The Politburo further proposed that an extraordinary congress of the Swapo Party be held next year, in order to discuss, adopt and approve the proposed amendments to the constitution,” said Pohamba.

“The submission of proposed constitutional amendments to this weekend’s Central Committee meeting satisfied the requirements of the Swapo constitution that such proposals must be submitted to the Central Committee three months prior to the holding of the congress or an extraordinary congress, as the case might be.”

In terms of the amendments, two of the top four positions of the ruling party, being the party president, vice president, secretary general and deputy secretary general, should be occupied by women and the composition of all Swapo structures must comply with 50/50 representation.

This includes that 33 of the 66 Central Committee members should be women and that three of the six presidential appointees to the CC should be women.

The party will also introduce an election system for its National Assembly candidate list whereby female and male candidates are elected separately and the list is then finalised by using the ‘zebra style’.

The party constitution will also be amended to make provision for Swapo local councillors to be ex-officio members of the party’s district executive committees and also to accord regional governors ex-officio membership of the regional executive committees.

A date for the extraordinary congress still has to be decided on.

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