Former Ethics and Integrity Minister Hon Miria Matembe has decried fellow Ugandan women’s ‘unmerited’ praise and support to the ruling NRM government which she says has done nothing commendable in promoting their welfare.
Matembe was speaking Friday at the 2nd Women Conference for Peace and Security held by Center for Women in Governance (CEWIGO), an organization she formed after retiring from politics.
The outspoken former NRM stalwart of the famed Constituent Assembly, said the Ugandan woman owed no such gratitude to a government that has for 28 years seen increasing levels of gender based violence, women marginalization, and patronage.
While the last decade has seen a substantive rise in the number of women taking up key government decision-making offices, Matembe observed that the big numbers meant nothing amidst the patronage, and dwindling political will by the president to address gender inequities.
“President Museveni is a pretender. He only makes declarations about government commitment to the women agenda. Many women have been co-opted in state structures, but they are all compromised and patronized. The situation is even worse today compared to our days when we were on fire in parliament,” she said.
The 9th Parliament of 380, has 133 female members (about 34%) making it the world’s 17th in terms of female representation.
Despite this, more gender critical Bills were passed during the previous 8th parliament, which had fewer women.
She noted, “Without the political will at highest level of government, having a female speaker and 130 female MPs won’t get us anywhere.”
Speaking in line with implementation of government action plan of UN resolution 1325, Matembe noted that Uganda still fell behind the UN targets and those of the African Parity Policy.
“It is saddening that this so-called gender sensitive government has failed to support laws that empower women, yet you hear the women pleading for single candidature. If you are campaigning for a single candidate, when will your fellow women contest for presidency?”
“Women need to be frank and tell government where it has failed. We must cease settling for the least.”