Women activists want equal seats in Parliament

KAMPALA- Female activists under the Women’s Democracy Group have called for equal representation in Parliament as a way of achieving gender equality.

“We are calling for a 50-50 representation where women will constitute half of the MPs in Parliament,” said Pery Aritua, executive director of Women’s Democracy Network.

The call was contained in a proposal by the women to make amendments in the 1995 Constitution during a consultative meeting in Kampala. The Constitution amendment process is spearheaded by the Uganda Law Reform Commission.

The meeting attracted women representatives from the 112 districts across the country who aocated increased women involvement in leadership.

In addition, the women activists resolved that a woman should at least lead one of the three arms of government if the men are heading the other two.

According to the draft proposal made by the group, political party primaries should also be scrapped to allow all interested contenders to contest for the respective elective positions. They said this would give more women chance to be elected.

“Uganda has adopted an electoral system where the candidate with the majority valid votes wins the election. This leads to voter apathy and denies fair representation to those who vote and has gradually affected voter turnout in Ugandan elections. This has discouraged some quality women from contesting as they do not want to be associated with a process that drains resources without any guarantee of fairness in terms of the organisation of party primaries and the conditions that can guarantee a free and fair election,” the proposal reads.

“In proportional systems, parties will be represented on the basis of their strength gained. Voters will indicate their preference for a particular party and the parties receive seats in proportion to their share of the vote. On the ballot, voters indicate their preference for the particular party and not the candidate,” the women further proposed.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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