RUKUNGIRI- Women contesting for different seats in Rukungiri district have said that the curfew imposed on them by the government and their husbands are hindering them from competing with the men on general seats during elections.
Women said this on Saturday October 31st 2020 during a two days training workshop for women in politics at Okapi hotel in western division Rukungiri municipality organized by Forum for Women in democracy (FOWODE) Rukungiri.
The field coordinator, Collins Nyangaro said their organization is a non-partisan organization that offers platform women networking and sharing experience and advocating for gender equity in decision making process.
“We believe women are doing many reproductive roles than men which is the reason they should be on top of policy making at almost every level,” Nyangaro said.
He said apart from impregnating a woman there is no other reproductive role a man can do and yet they are the majority during policy making.
“When a woman is a political head of a sub county she will make sure the policy they make favors the women because she knows what a woman will pass through during pregnancy and giving birth,” he said.
A man who has never experienced labour pain may not understand the problem of expectant mothers coming to the health centre and not attended to.
The workshop attracted all the women contestant at all levels in Rukungiri except in the sub counties of Nyakishenyi, Nyarushanje and Bwambara where program has not yet enrolled.
Beatrice Turyagumanawe, aspiring candidate for district councilor representing western division, said the curfew imposed by the president due to covid19 at 9pm was much easier than that of their husbands.
“All women whether in politics or not our curfew by our husbands is at 6pm when you go beyond that time, you have to bring your parents to explain why,” she said.
Turyagumanawe said it was a major reason why they could not compete with men on the same seat because they have more time than women.
In Rukungiri, there are three women contesting for LC 111 seats out of total 15 lc111 seats, they are Ruhinda Sub County, Western division in Rukungiri municipality and Rwerere town council.
Jolly Mugume from Karangaro word said women are vulnerable when they delay in field looking for votes even if they don’t have curfew; sometimes they face rape in the field which also contributes fear for running the same seats with men.
Jovent Kinahirwe Abbo the FOWODE trainer said women should bless the curfew of their husbands because it helped them from many hazards as one puts it that they are raped during the night.
“What Mugume is saying is true and real, women are meeting funny things in politics though the majority of them decide to keep quiet,” she said.
She advised them to use modern technology in soliciting for votes since there is a ban on gathering due to covid19 pandemic.
She said the media is the only answer for women in politics since they cannot go out at night as men do.
She advised them to use radios, television, print, social media, loud speakers and flyers to reach people and tell them what they intend to do for them so that they can be voted.
“There is no election that does not involve money, if you know that you don’t have money and you don’t even have family blessing to contest for the seat, you better step down as soon as possible,” she said.
She said another thing that is disturbing women leaders is speaking in public which they should practice several times if not you decline to speak instead of talking nonsense in public.
“If you know there is nothing you can talk at the funnel of a person whom you don’t even know, you should leave others to speak and you keep quiet, instead of praising a serial killer that was a good and cooperative person in society,” she advised.
Ingrid Turinawe who is contesting as independent for Rukungiri Municipality seat said besides the curfew, the biggest challenge is facing is about misconception in the public that am standing on the seat of men
“We need to educate our people to know that a woman, youth, people with disability and elderly can contest on any political seat if he/ she has the minimum qualification for the seat,” she said.
She added that her main challenge in the field is to explain the electorate that am on the right constituency because I had contested at woman seat twice they think I should be at district woman seat not on this one which they refer mistakenly that is for ‘men’.
Winfred Babihuga who is contesting for woman Member of Parliament for Rukungiri district said it’s a reason why mature and experienced leaders are needed in parliament to strengthen such laws that are gender sensitive.
“Some of the leaders are contesting for the sake while others are in politics just because they are jobless, such leaders will not address the problems of the woman at grass root level instead will solve her own problems,” she said.
Babihuga praised FOWODE for not discriminating among the women because the problems of the women are the same globally.
She urged the community to respect women who are in politics before they start campaigning against men.
“Women constitute a larger percentage than men in the country, if they don’t accord us the respect we deserve we shall now start mobilizing women to start voting fellow women and we end up taking all the seats from men,” she said.
She said in other countries including Rwanda women outweigh men in parliament and in cabinet. Phiona Mujuni aspirant for Rubanga parish in Buyanja Sub County asked FOWODE to think of including husbands of women politicians in the programm so that they can support their cause.
“If our husbands can also get such training, instead of imposing curfew to us they would instead escort us when we are looking for votes,” she said.
She added that some men become happy when you bring bread at home but they don’t want to know what you pass through to be a leader among others.
Rukungiri district woman Member of Parliament, Betty Muzanira who is seeking another term said some women are the ones pulling down their fellow women in politics.
“Some of the women know that men are better leaders than women because they see men are leaders at home and they think they would remain better leaders even in other fields which she said was a reason why most men beat women in elections when women are more than men,” She said.
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