By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The Deputy Secretary of the Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) Linnea Shateonodi has called on the SPWC to remain strong and united as the Swapo Party goes through a difficult period. Shateonodi officially opened the SPWC 5th Central Committee meeting in the capital on Saturday. She said the SPWC should not allow the party to go down and that as women and mothers they should stand up and work hard to ensure that the party emerges stronger. “As mothers, we should fight harder because our children will suffer more if the Swapo Party is not united and strong.” Swapo Party is probably going through its toughest phase in post-independence. Recently, the country saw waves of protests from a group calling themselves ex-combatants as well as by shebeen owners. The two created tension and caused a war of words to erupt between the protestors and Swapo Party, especially its president, the former head of state Sam Nujoma. The build-up to the Swapo Party 2007 Congress has not been very smooth and has seen primary elections in different towns being nullified. These latest developments are fuelling a rift, which was caused by the 2004 Swapo Extra Ordinary Congress. Shateonodi, who was representing the SPWC secretary Eunice Iipinge, who was present but could not officiate because of flu, said that naturally mothers care more for their children and thus they should work hard to secure a better future for their children. She noted that the SPWC faces challenges such as gender equality and HIV/Aids. “Women need to be equally represented in all political spheres and strides.” She noted that although women representation has improved over the years, it has not reached the 50% target. She said that at independence, Namibia had only 9% women in parliament, which increased to 19% in 1996 and then to 27% this year. She added that the Swapo Party president at the last party Central Committee meeting called for a 50% women representation at the next party congress and the SPWC should therefore seriously aim at that mark. Shateonodi said that this could only happen when women make themselves available for election starting from the district elections. “I am disturbed that very few women are in the regional structures and am even more disappointed that women who were regional councillors lost their seats during the last election.” The deputy secretary said women do not attend party functions in large numbers. This could be attributed to the scourge of HIV/Aids where it appears that many women, if not infected, are affected. “I urge you to speak to our children and the youth to protect themselves and to live life in a positive way.” She also revealed that the SPWC would hold its congress in December and that members should focus on the challenges facing the country. “We should work out a strategy on how SPWC can contribute to Vision 2030 and this must be the priority on our agenda.” The SPWC Central Committee meeting ended on Saturday afternoon and was attended by over thirty Central Committee members. Some leading politicians attended the meeting, including Minister of Justice and Attorney General Pendukeni Ithana and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
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