KAMPALA– The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Betty Aol Ocan, has appealed to women legislators to lobby their male counterparts for support in pushing for issues that affect women.
Aol, who was meeting a delegation of members from the National Assembly of Malawi, said that support from all legislators would also be required at the implementation stage of laws that affect women.
“We once debated a law on prevention of Female Genital Mutilation and it was a male MP who championed the fight; we, the women, unanimously supported him,” said Aol.
The Prevention of Female Genital Mutilation was moved as a Private Members Bill by Chris Baryomunsi and was passed by Parliament in 2010.
Aol said the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) has invited male MPs to appreciate and push for successful implementation of sections in law, which support women’s matters.
Aol explained that the Constitution of Uganda had put in place provisions for affirmative action for positions in Parliament, where particular seats are reserved for women and special interest groups like youth, the army and persons with disabilities.
“Right from Parliament to the Local Government councils, we have affirmative action positions where men cannot compete,” she said.
The visiting Deputy Speaker of Malawi, Dr. Esther Mcheka Chilenje, reiterated the advantage of having male legislators advocating for causes benefiting girls and women in society.
“The women caucus in collaboration with our male counterparts lobbied to increase the marriage age from 15 to 18 years, which has helped to keep girls in school,” Mcheka said.
She said that the Malawi Parliament would continue to push for the reform of the country’s Constitution, to provide for more seats for women in the National Assembly and raise their percentage of representation now at 13 per cent.
The Malawian delegation was on a bench-marking visit to Parliament of Uganda to study the rules and procedure governing the work of the legislature and how the multi-party system is coordinated.