Lesotho: Cabinet appointments fail the 5050 by 2015 test

Lesotho: Cabinet appointments fail the 5050 by 2015 test

Date: July 22, 2012
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The recently announced cabinet appointments for Lesotho shortly after the national elections were a major disappointment as the count down to 2015. There was a significant drop in women representation by 15 percentage points from 37% in 2011 to the present 22%. This means the country has failed the test to meet the 5050 by 2015 target.

As highlighted in the 2011 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer, “Cabinet is one sphere of decision-making in which it is theoretically relatively easy to ‘ring up the changes’ since leaders have the leeway to appoint the inner team”.

The leadership for Lesotho lost the opportunity to demonstrate political will towards meeting gender equality. This suggests that the country will likely not meet the 2015 target in this sphere of governance.

Even where the country had achieved gender parity in terms of appointing assistant ministers, there was a drop from 50% to 43%.

There were other qualitative losses.

As Matseliso Mapetla from the University of Lesotho and is also the country researcher for the 2012 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer put it “Lesotho has really lost this time around”.

The Speaker of Parliament and Police Commissioner positions which were previously held by women have now been given to men. Even the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Sports is now headed by men. There is nothing wrong with that expect that there are fears that he will be concerned about youth and sports than gender issues.

The only marginal gain is that there is an increase in women representation in the senate from 21% in the previous election to 28%. The Ministry of Works and Transport will for the first time be headed by a woman.

Otherwise there is little to celebrate in this election for a country like Lesotho which for the past few years has been a shining example for promoting women representation and participation in key decision making positions at a time that the region should be working towards achieving the 28 targets set for 2015.


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