KAMPALA – Inter-party women platform (IWOP), a platform aimed at enabling women from all registered political parties in Uganda to have a common voice on issues that affect their participation in political parties and politics in Uganda has been launched.
The platform currently comprising of women from nine registered political parties in Uganda including; the Alliance for National Transformation (ANT), Democratic Party (DP), Ecological Party of Uganda (EPU), Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Justice Forum (JEEMA), National Resistance Movement (NRM), Peoples’ Progressive Party (PPP), Uganda Federal Alliance (UFA) and the Uganda Peoples’ Congress (UPC) was unveiled on Thursday at Sheraton Hotel Kampala.
The IWOP further seeks to enable women leaders to lay strategies and advocate for changes to enhance the participation of women in political parties and politics in Uganda.
Speaking in the capacity of the interim chairperson of IWOP, Ms. Aisha Waliggo noted that they have been lagging behind thinking that their challenges are different.
“But we sat down and agreed that the challenges in NRM facing the women are the challenges facing the women in DP, and all other political parties.”
“One of the things that made the interparty women’s platform very unique, we looked at a broader perspective where we thought it is not only those political parties that are in a parliament that should be having those issues. That is why today for us because we believe in our issues, we have those political parties, though they may not have members of parliament, but they have women leaders that are very functional,” she added.
Mr. Francis Rogers, Resident Country Director, International Republican Institute (IRI) as an enabling partner noted that much as it is important to have different political ideologies, it’s also more important to understand the common denominator which is the country.
“A woman has a strong voice and a group of women, I will say has a thunderous voice.”
“This platform does not undermine any political party or women’s group but it brings women together to address issues affecting women in Uganda regardless of the different ideologies,” he added.
Mr. Francis challenged the women to utilize their platform for their voices to be heard in the high places.
“You should understand the power that you have so that you are able to bring the transformation you desire, and you can demand it by a collective force.”
“I’m very much optimistic that women of this country or women in this group will turn the tables around. People will reach out to places where there are issues and they will be able to amplify their voices and those issues will be addressed,” he said.
He also encouraged the members to create a bridge for other parties to come aboard, not just in Kampala, but across the nation.
The NRM women leader, Ms. Lydia Wanyoto Mutende asked the members to focus on fighting unemployment in the country and amongst young girls.
“The majority of Ugandans leaving this country to do labour work in the Arab countries are young girls. We must devise means of empowering them.”
Wnayoto also challenged women who have chosen politics to be extraordinary, noting that, “If you have chosen to be a politician, you have to keep relevant and strong because there is no clear path in politics.”
Former Minister and Member of Parliament, Dr. Miria Matembe congratulated the women, noting that there has been a backlash regarding women’s gender equality.
According to her, without women’s empowerment, “this nation will not move forward.”
Dr. Matembe also warned IWOP members of Uganda’s current political environment which she says is characterized by militarism, materialism, and corruption, among others.
“They (women) must decide to stand up for integrity, honesty and humanity, not just to get power for themselves.”
The leaders also signed an MoU – founded on the principles of respect, do no harm, open-mindedness and values of tolerance, unity, truthfulness, voluntarism and working towards the common good of all women of Uganda.
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