Governor of Western Equatoria State promises 35 per cent political representation for women
Alfred Futuyo Karaba, Governor of Western Equatoria State, has promised that his government will make sure that women will obtain their 35 per cent political representation, as stipulated in the revitalized peace agreement signed in September 2018.
The governor renewed his commitment to this gender provision at a one-day training for 35 female representatives of different political parties, organized by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in cooperation with the non-governmental organization Nonviolent Peace Force.
“We women must continue to raise our voices to demand this political representation and make sure that it is indeed fully implemented, because we have the right to hold any government position,” affirmed Julie John Sindani, a representative of the South Sudan Opposition Alliance attending the event.
The gathering of female politicians was arranged to raise further awareness of their political rights, including their active participation in the implementation of the peace agreement, and to discuss how they can better cooperate and coordinate activities to make this happen.
“I am happy about this opportunity to get together with women from different parties to discuss issues that are relevant to women across the country. We want the government that we are not only present but also capable of holding any political position,” said Grace Appolo, representing the Sudan People Liberation Movement.
The discussions resulted in a number of ideas on how women can proceed to make their voices better heard and respected. Holding monthly meetings to promote female unity, networking and sharing of knowledge and information was one key recommendation, reaching out to women at the grassroots level to encourage them to join political parties was another.
The overarching goal, it was decided, is to present the government of Western Equatoria State with a unified position of female citizens in the state.
Their clear message was in fact delivered directly to Governor Alfred Futuyo Karaba, present at the forum, and his response was positive.
“This government is going to make sure that the 35 per cent representation (of women) in the government is respected,” the Governor vowed, adding that the political parties will need to cooperate to make this enrollment of women happen.
As part of its mandate, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country supports the South Sudanese process towards durable peace, which includes the implementation of adequate female political representation.
“We helped organize today’s forum to offer women a chance to develop strategies for their effective political participation. We will stand by the women of this country to make sure that their voices are heard and that they are always part of the decision-making process,” said Christopher Murenga, head of the peacekeeping mission’s field office in Western Equatoria State.