NAMIBIA: Group Decries Poor Women Representation in New Namibian National Assembly

Friday, December 11, 2009
The Southern Times
Southern Africa
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 

The Women's Action for Development (WAD) has expressed disappointment in the reduction of women in the new National Assembly in Namibia from 33 percent to 22 percent.

Veronica de Klerk, the WAD Executive Director attributes the low number of women to sit in parliament to all political parties who listed women lowly on their candidate's lists.

She said the reduction in the number of women in the new parliament had caused a dent that diminished Namibia's image among SADC states as Namibia had failed in its commitment of working towards the SADC target of 50 percent representation of women for member states.

She said the situation could be redressed by making it compulsory for all parties to introduce an alternate listing system of women on party lists with men (Zebra crossing). “The present situation in the new parliament amounts to bad news for both women and Namibia in the eyes of the world,” de Klerk said.

“In view of the gravity of the situation, WAD appeals to the new Government to consider the introduction of such legislation to avoid further embarrassment by Namibia reneging on its joint undertaking with other SADC countries.

WAD urged the government to amend the Regional Council's Act to include an Affirmative Action provision of gender equality where women currently have a 12 percent representation.

It also appealed for gender equality in the National Council and proposed an amendment to the Regional Council's Act which would compel all Regional Councils to elect “one man-one woman” to the National Council”.