Women contesting for different seats in Rukungiri district have said that the curfew imposed on them by the government and their husbands is hindering them from competing with the men on various political seats during elections.
The ladies made these remarks on Saturday 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), a non-partisan, non-governmental organisation offering a platform for women’s learning, networking, sharing experiences and advocating for gender equality and equity in decision-making processes.
Beatrice Turyagumanawe, aspiring candidate for Rukungiri district councillor representing western division, said the 9 PM curfew imposed by the President due to covid-19 is more flexible 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.
Jolly Mugume from Karangaro ward said women are vulnerable when they delay in the field looking for votes even if they don’t have curfew; “sometimes they are raped in the field, which also contributes to their fear for running for the same seats with men.”
Ingrid Kamateneti Turinawe, who is contesting as an independent for Rukungiri Municipality seat said besides the curfew, the biggest challenge she is facing is the misconception by the public “that i am standing on the seat of men.”
“We need to educate our people, most of them actually have the minimum qualification for the seat,” she said.
She added that her main challenge in the field is to explain to the electorate that she is in the right position because she had contested for the ‘woman seat’ twice and they are mistaken to think she should be running for district woman seat not District Chairperson which they refer to as “a seat for men.”
Winfred Babihuga, who is contesting for woman Member of Parliament for Rukungiri district on an independent ticket, said this is the very reason why mature and experienced leaders are needed in parliament, “to strengthen such laws and policies that are gender sensitive.”
“Some of the leaders are contesting just for the sake while others are in politics because they are jobless, such leaders will not address the problems of the women at the grass root level but will instead solve their own personal problems,” she said.
Babihuga praised FOWODE for not discriminating against the women and urged the community to respect women in politics before decampaigning them in favour of their male counterparts.
“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 in fellow women and we end up taking all the seats from the men,” she said.
Phiona Mujuni, aspirant for Rubanga parish in Buyanja Sub County asked FOWODE to think of including husbands of women in politicians in the program so that they can support their cause.
“When husbands are also trained, they can stop imposing curfew on their wives and support them in their political ventures,” Mujuni said.
Betty Bamukwatsa Muzanira, Rukungiri district woman Member of Parliament, who is seeking re-election said some women pulling down their fellow women in politics.
“Some of the women believe that men are better leaders because of the position they hold in homes. They think men make better leaders even in other fields, the reason most men beat women in elections, even when female voters are more than men,” Muzanira explained.
Collins Nyangaro, the FOWODE field coordinator said their organization is a non-partisan organization that offers platform for women networking and sharing experience and advocating for gender equity in decision making processes.
“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.
“When a woman is a political head of a sub county, she will make sure that the policy they make favours the women because she knows what a woman will go 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 being attended to.
In Rukungiri, there are three women contesting for LC 111 seats out of total 15 LC 111 seats, they are Ruhinda Sub County, Western division in Rukungiri municipality and Rwerere town council.
The workshop attracted all the women contestants at all levels in Rukungiri except in the sub counties of Nyakishenyi, Nyarushanje and Bwambara where the program has not yet been enrolled.