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By M'kwanailya wa Mweuta
Anuwa I met my friend who was over the moon and full of praises for the month of July . According to her July was just a fabulous month for. Eager to listen I begged her to fill me in and she started: We received our Tax refund. But again on a personal note we were declared 50/50 equal with our male counterparts. Her excitement revealed however that my friend was not completely in the know of what is meant by the 50/ 50. I understood her joy on the tax refund.

She will take a trip to Swakopmund and Walvisbay to show her children at least the sea where the much awaited Namibian oil will come from. Ok. That makes sense I replied. She will also buy a 50kg Maize meal for her dad in the wake of the drought. That is perfect. I commented.

I probed her on the 50/50 excitement and she hesitated. Later, she just said: I am happy we are really equal now not like in the past. That is when I realized that girlfriend had no clue on what exactly happened in Swakopmund. So my lecture starts.

The SWAPO Party's extraordinary congress last week amended the party's constitution to bring about 50/50 representation of men and women in the SWAPO Party's organs and structures. Structures being referred are such as the districts and regional ones.

My friend does not feature anywhere in politics and the last time we had a politically conversation, she told me that her professional career comes first and she does not see herself engaging in active politics. She eventually confessed that with 50/50 she thought when companies tender for work, 50% will be given to male and the other 50% to female owned companies. She continued, that she also thought that when 300 jobs are advertised in the public service 150 will be reserved for men and the other for women. All I said is dream on girlfriend and continue dreaming.

In 2004 in the same July month, Heads of States of African Union including Namibia met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They agreed on 12 Articles all dealing with Gender Equality. Among them are the following: To launch within one year a campaign prohibiting the abuse of girl children as wives.

If ours was launched then it is not known. Just another day, a villager was detained by the police for having married traditionally a minor. But the question is was he made aware that is it is an offence? We all know the phrase: Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to break it.

But when the whole community including the child's mother, aunts and uncles and the "husband" are not aware of the law, definitely, a campaign need to be intensified! After all the same declaration of Gender Equality in Africa calls for "active promotion and protection of all human rights for women and girls including the right to development by raising awareness by legislation where necessary.

One of the commitments agreed upon is for member countries to report annually on progress made in terms of gender mainstreaming. One hope that the 50/50 representation of men and women in the Swapo-Party's organs and structures will have a snowball effect and eventually will reach various decision making bodies both private and public. Only then, can my girlfriend celebrate.


SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura