Malebogo Kruger – Botswana

Malebogo Kruger – Botswana

Date: June 16, 2012
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Recently appointed Deputy Mayor of Lobatse town, Malebogo Kruger challenges the Setswana proverb which says “ga di etelelwe ke namagadi pele” (women cannot lead).

A member of BDP, Kruger represents the Peleng East ward, and is serving her first term in office, having been specially nominated in 2004. She is one of the five women in the 13 member council, and has had to develop the skill of making her voice heard in council where men have dominated discussions and sought to marginalise the women. She says in cases where there has been intimidation and attempts to block her advancement of an agenda within council, “I faced it head on.” She refuses to believe that she belongs to the “weaker sex,” and she points to the need to have a mix of skills and tact to have influence and a strong presence in council.

She is upfront on the many challenges women face entering politics; “finance is an issue – it is very expensive to campaign.” Some of the considerations include transport, communications, publicity materials (although political parties often provide basic publicity materials for all their candidates). In her case Kruger also had support staff and a small office to manage the mobilisation of the electorate.

She is also clear about focusing on strategic ways of reducing women’s poverty. She points out that when she works with women from poor communities, she does not take out money from her pocket to give them, she tries to create opportunities for them to be economically empowered and self sufficient. Likewise Salome Lesole, BDP councillor Central District Council, assists men and women from the Basarwa community with marketing their products in Orapa town. This is more sustainable than providing aid.

Kruger lives in Thema, and has noted that it is a new area and there is very little street lighting, so she has been pushing for something to be done in order to increase women’s safety, particularly those coming from work/markets in the evenings.

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