Andretta Makaka – Botswana

Andretta Makaka – Botswana

Date: June 7, 2012
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As one of only seven women councillors in the 35 member Gaborone City Council, Andretta Makaka has had her share of challenges. She is a BNF member and represents the Mosekangwetsi ward. She became a councillor in 2004, and recounts how, during the time she was campaigning she had to reckon with family and community resistance to her standing for political office. Her campaign efforts took her out of the home most of the time and she used to come home at night and was still expected to cook. She had to negotiate with her family to do household chores so that she could be free to campaign.

During her campaign, part of her support structure was a group of young men who campaigned with her. There were allegations of adulterous relationships with the young men, aimed at weakening her campaign efforts. However, in spite of this she persevered and won the elections. After proving that she could do it, her family support has been unwavering, and her husband is now proud of her achievements.

Interestingly, only women identified both lack of confidence and low levels of education as barriers to women participating in politics. Andretta acknowledged that initially she struggled to assert herself in council meetings. However, after receiving training (including on how to present herself and speak on issues) and gaining experience, she can take on the men and express herself well on any of the issues. She has been especially active and vocal on the provision of services, particularly those that affect women most.

Councils in Botswana are tasked provide free educational facilities in their jurisdictions starting from infancy. Crèches are a good example of this service. Andretta Makaka has moved two motions to address the gaps in providing good schooling facilities. First, she moved a motion for crèches to be established in her ward, where there was no facility at all, and this motion was adopted and awaits implementation. Second, she moved a motion for security lights at schools in Gaborone; this was adopted and implemented.

She has also raised concerns council regarding the lack of toilet facilities in her area, and pushed for, at a minimum, pit latrines. There has been no movement on this issue thus far; however, she says she still intends to raise it since it is not only the council’s mandate, but it is in the NDP and resources should be allocated to implementing the plan.



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