Parliamentarian Kazenambo Kazenambo spoke out against some of the resolutions of the “Women in politics and decision making in Namibia conference” held this year, a week before parliament recessed to June this year.
When KK took the stand in parliament late last month, he was not impressed with some of the points raised in the report on the conference which has focused on giving preferential treatment to women to access financial institutions.
“There are women in Namibia who are filthy rich. This is broad day robbery and theft” Kazenambo said.
He explained that women of his era can be justified to receive preferential treatment to have access to financial treatment but the term should however not be generalised because the status of women before independence is not the same now.
“That is reversed discrimination” he said. Kazenambo debates that a boy and girl born in a new Namibia would both have the same opportunities therefore the girl should not have to get special treatment because she was not born in an era where she was double disadvantaged by being a female and black at the same time.
He supports the 50/50 gender representation both in Swapo and the government, even though he says that the implementation is another issue.
A 2013 WEF gender gap report indicated that Namibia has been ranked 52, out of 136 countries, in empowering women to take part in politics.
The debate on women in politics goes on as the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare’s 2010-2014 strategic plan is about to reach maturity.
In this plan the ministry had planned for putting 1733 women in decision making structures. The ministry was also supposed to have facilitated, reviewed and developed 20 gender responsive laws and policies.
Currently, Namibia does not have a political party that is headed by a woman nor does it have a party that was the initiative of a woman. It is more perceived that women are used in political parties as votes acquiring mechanisms while they do not play major roles in the structures.
Women’s Action for Development, executive director Veronica de Klerk, said “ Because of the long-standing tradition of male domination in decision-making positions, all too many women unfortunately developed a preference for men in politics and would thus, not readily vote for a fellow-woman to occupy such positions” at a women’s role and challenges in politics seminar in 2009.
She also added that, the constitution’s article 10 states all people being equal and not to be discriminated on grounds of sex or race.
“The Constitution further, in Article 23, allows Parliament to pass Affirmative Action laws that give special assistance to people who have suffered from race or sex discrimination in the past.
It further states that women have suffered special discrimination in the past and that Parliament may need to take special steps to assist women to play an equal role in all areas of life in Namibia” she said.
Currently the participation of women in decision making structures across SADC is not of the desired numbers despite women making up majority of voters in this community.
With five SADC countries having elections this year, it is thought that issues concerning gender equality and parity should be addressed swiftly. Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Mozambique and Namibia will be going to the polls starting this month.
This far, only five countries in SADC are close to reaching the parity in parliament target having gone above the 30% threshold set by the regional leaders of representation of women. Mozambique (39%), Seychelles (43%), South Africa (42.3%), Tanzania (36%) and Angola (34.1 %). While Zimbabwe is said to have a 34.1% representation in its National Assembly.