WINDHOEK – The ruling party has directed its politburo to finalise the best possible methodology to achieve the zebra style representation on the party list before the party’s Electoral College later this year.
Even though the date for the politburo meeting has not yet been communicated, Swapo Party Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba is confident that when implemented, the 50-50 gender balance policy adopted by the party for all its organs, would be sustainable and that there are enough capable women to fill top positions in the party. “I definitely believe that 50/50 is sustainable, because we have many able women who can lead. By the way, women are the majority of the population in this country, so we will not run out of women,” Mbumba said while responding to a question from New Era during a press conference on Sunday.
Mbumba is adamant that women need to be provided a platform to prove themselves and to make their mark. “Some of us were also given chances in the party like being sent to universities to go and study and to get into leadership positions. We performed and look where we are now. This will also be the case with women, because they have the ability to perform if given an opportunity,” he said. Mbumba’s statement comes just three days after the Minister of Finance Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila asked fellow politicians to ensure that the change is sustainable, with appropriate strategies in place to make sure that the 50/50 is not only applicable to the coming elections, but to future elections as well. “We must identify the causes of the imbalances we are facing and address them. Our responses should not aim at short-term measures, but also the medium- and long-term,” Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said last week in the National Assembly. Sources in the party also said that some seasoned male politicians are dead set against the zebra style representation methodology, because according to them it defeats the purpose of democracy.
“With this formula there might easily be a scenario whereby a male cadre gets more votes than most women, but then fails to make the cut, because a woman, who got less votes than him, has to be accommodated,” said one source. Political analysts have in the past warned that the Swapo Party risks destabilizing the party and unsettling senior male figures in the party, who will now have to battle it out for a much smaller chunk of the party’s leadership cake if a zebra-style system is adopted.
By Mathias Haufiku