The women contesting for parliamentary seats in Francistown city have pledged to fight multiple challenges faced by women in their respective constituencies.
Sylvia Muzila, parliamentary candidate for Francistown South said she is ready to further her chapter of women empowerment if sent to parliament. She said in most cases women are heading families and majority of them are unskilled. This fails them to get formal jobs and has forced them to settle for low paying jobs. Before joining politics, Muzila said she has always done her best to empower women with skills that will assist them reach their dreams and this she did by sponsoring 30 girls in Thabitha, a private institution located in Block 10. The former district commissioner says if she was able to do such great work before joining politics then what can fail her to empower women if voted to parliament.
She promised to ensure that women live to see their dreams fulfilled by helping those in small business with skills on how to save the little money they earn to be later used to expand the business. “Saving money is one area that is a challenge to women in small businesses. The reason I say so is because while I was a district commissioner I bought sewing machines and some cloths to empower women so they can survive these trying times but the moment the cloths for sewing got finished they ate the proceeds from the business so I believe inviting financial advisors to small scale businesses will do them more good” she said.
Muzila received a presidential honour for her passion on women issues from the then president Festus Mogae and also did Masters in human development. She said that women issues have always been close to her heart and that she enjoys teaching women survival skills to get through the hard life in townships. “I am really concerned about orphaned girl children who are looking after their siblings and are currently living in unfriendly environments, which expose them to abuse. All the problems that the girl child faces are due to wrong family structures,” said Habaudi Hubona who added that she came up with a motion that calls for the country to adopt a SADC protocol on gender and development.
She said the SADC Heads of State and Government signed and adopted the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development in August 2008 with the exception of Botswana and Mauritius. “The objectives of the Protocol are among others to provide for the empowerment of women, to eliminate discrimination and to achieve gender equality and equity through the development and implementation of gender responsive legislation, policies, programmes and projects. It also seeks to harmonise the various international, continental and regional gender equality instruments that SADC Member States have subscribed to such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women,” explained Hubona.
The Francistown West MP said she is the only lady from Botswana Congress Party (BCP) holding a seat in Francistown West, a sign that there is a lot to be done to empower women even politically. Efforts to reach Theresa Mmolwa, parliamentary candidate for Francistown East for Botswana Umbrella for Democratic Change, were futile at press time.