African women plan to seek political hearing in Lusaka

Dakar- Senegal (PANA) -- African women say they plan to make a debut in regional and continental politics at the forthcoming summit of African leaders in Lusaka, Zambia.
One of the priorities identified by African Women in Beijing +5 Review in 2000 being women's participation in politics and decision making, women throughout the continent feel it is time for such participation well beyond national politics.
Hence, the African Women's Development and Communication Network has disclosed plans to pressure the OAU to make immediate reforms that will allow women to aspire to the post of secretary general of the organisation.
Programme officer in charge of advocacy at the Nairobi- based (FEMNET), Mary Wandia told PANAPRESS that the group would engage in "an extensive campaign" during the forthcoming summit to ensure implementation of the reforms.
She hoped the OAU secretariat would satisfactorily deal with the matter before the summit.
Wandia, who represented FEMNET in Cairo at the OAU Forum on the future of children in Africa, complained that FEMMNET was upset over the disqualification of a Zambian lady for the post of OAU secretary general.
The official threatened that, because of the disqualification of Dr Inonge Mbikusita's application, FEMNET would fight for the revision of the basic texts of the OAU to make them "more gender-responsive and fit well into the realities and changes in Africa.
" FEMNET, which is a regional Women's Network with 52 focal points in Africa, enjoys consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council.
FEMNET argues that "Mbikusita was knocked out purely on grounds of sexual discrimination".
Wandia described "the technically knocking out of the candidacy of Mbikusita as the height discrimination against women in Africa".
"In this particular case, Mbikusita suffered discrimination at the national level and continentals," FEMMNET charged.
Zambian President Frederick Chiluba said the government could not support Mbikusita since he would become chairman of the African Union.
The government in Namibia withdrew the application of another woman to support Theo-Ben Gurirab.
"We are also concerned with the attitude of the Namibian government, which withdrew the candidacy of another female to support a man," Wandia complained.
The women described existing procedural rules of the OAU as "completely obsolete and out of tune with women's aspirations on the continent.
They argued that the OAU's policy that aspirants for the post of Secretary-General must be nominated by their governments ignores the existence of talented people of all sexes in every country, who may have political variance with their governments.

14 june 2001 11:29:00

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