Lesotho:”Yes, we can!À À“ Lesotho stands up against gender violence

Lesotho:”Yes, we can!À À“ Lesotho stands up against gender violence

Date: August 27, 2014
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Maseru, 15 April – As four other summit gatherings of the Gender Links 50/50 by 2015 and demanding a strong post 2015 agenda were currently ongoing, Lesotho was also in the thick of things as the Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation, Thesele ‘Maseribane declared the summit open at the Maseru Sun Cabanas on Monday, 14 April 2014, stressing the need to uncompromisingly reject and stem out gender based violence.

In his opening speech, ‘Maseribane acknowledged that there is a number of challenges that relate to non-existent of networks and programmes within the society that are well set to effectively deal with gender based violence. He also nailed some psychological aspects that affect the relationships of men and women, lack of good counselling of male prisoners and former prisoners being one of the factors.

“Male prisoners seemingly do things one would not opt to do outside prison. The end result being is a psychological drift that changes the prisoners’ reality and role in society once released. Very often, therefore, these psychologically damaged men subject their partners to atrocious acts of violence – that is, things that are very, very inhuman and degrading to our fellow human beings, women”, he straightforwardly said this with hard and clear expression of disapproval of such incidents. The participants went into raptures over the statement, some audibly muttering that human rights abuse by any party are intolerable.

As he approached the end of the official opening of the Lesotho Gender Links’ ’50/50 by 2015 and demanding a strong post 2015 agenda’ summit, the Minister stated that gender equality initiatives and policies should be embedded in the constitution of Lesotho, and should be inherent in all social, political and economic aspects of Basotho. This, he asserted, would be effective in rooting out gender violence.

He concluded his address by indicating that information and policy making advocacy should begin from a primary levels of communities and should be passed applied through various forms of social dialogues that involve change agents or gender specialists. He added that this will certainly lead to a visibly gender peaceful, thereby particularly restore the integrity of women in the country.

Echoing and supporting some of the statements of the minister, Chief Gender Officer from the Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation, ‘Mapuleng Secheche, stressed that gender violence to this day proves to be the stem of gender inequality in urban and rural communities.

Furthermore, she stated that a model for change in the democratic system of Lesotho, as well as other African countries, should be the first priority as politics are mostly occupied by men. “This negligence of women in politics, therefore national decision-making process, degrades women, and this is another form of a very unacceptable violence meted out to women both inadvertently and consciously purely because they are women.”

Moreover, Secheche anchored her point with a quotation from ‘The definition of Democracy’ by Dr. Margaret Nasha (speaker of parliament in Botswana), that reads: “Democracy is the government of the people, for the people, by the people…not by men!” Through these words of wisdom, she maintained that democracy by men compromises gender equality accountability, responsiveness, transparency, development of good social and gender policies and services. “This is a fundamental factor for gender violence, which is not favourable to the goal of ’50/50 by 2015, and it must be urgently arrested”, she sharply stated.

“The major question that each and every one of us should ask themselves as we discuss the 50/50 gender equality by 2015 is that: Are we for change or are we resisting the change?” She said this as she ended her presentation that had caught a full attention of the participants who clearly nodded approvingly to her key point that gender violence is totally unacceptable.

This article is part of the GL News Service special coverage of the SADC Gender Protocol Summits underway across the region, offering fresh views on everyday news.

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