Mau: Equality promises not translating to reality

Mau: Equality promises not translating to reality

Date: October 24, 2019
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By Loga Virahsawmy

Who said that they were going to put one female candidate in each constituency for the next general elections? Certainly not me, as I am not a leader of any political party and will never be because I am a woman. But all leaders said there would be female candidates and one of them who said it even louder is Dr. Navinchandra Ramgoolam.

In my view, I thought that he was taking his time to finalise his list of candidates because he wanted to do better than the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) and the Mauritian Alliance and also wanted to keep up   his promises. He also wanted to show all SADC countries that he is a man of principle.  He wanted to be in line with the New Local Government Act which stipulates 33% women or men candidates in local government elections. But, when I saw his list of candidates, I asked myself “Loga how can you be so naïve?”  This man has been unfair in his selection, not only did he align 20% women like the MMM and Mauritian Alliance his Secretary General (SG), Kalyanee Juggoo did not even make it to the list of candidates. As far as I know, Juggoo’s   party holds second place after the leader in the hierarchy of a political parties and must be treated as such.

The Labour Party is the only political party in Mauritius which has a woman as a SG. When   Juggoo was appointed SG in 2013, I wrote an article to congratulate the Labour Party for this ground-breaking decision. Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa! I did not realise that Ramgoolam appointed a woman for his own benefit. Juggoo works with over 500 women throughout Mauritius in 20 constituencies. She chairs the monthly women’s league meeting and organises all events and trainings. But she gets rewarded by being booted out of the eight men committee which decides on the list of candidates.

Women are still seen and not heard in the political space. They continue to be used and reused like dirty kitchen towels until they can no longer be used. If our political parties do not believe in those who gave them life, in those who raised them and in those who made them what they are today, are they not responsible in perpetuating the marginalisation of 51% of the Mauritian population? How can men in general behave towards women when men in power are not leading the way they should towards upholding gender equality? This is why violence against women is still rife in this country and the Children’s Bill has not been passed. This shows that there are not enough structures to accommodate survivors.

The chauvinistic male leaders do not believe in women but only need them so that they can be used as electoral campaign agents.

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