“I love women, girls because my mother is a woman, my girlfriend is a girl too” ~ Ter Manyang
By Ter Manyang Gatwech, Human Rights Activist
Opinion – 16h October 2016 –The Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), United Nations Women and Gender Equality and Embassy of Sweden organized Girls Arise Conference on Saturday 15th October 2016. Thank goes to Uganda Women’s Network for invited me to participate and be one of Panellists as an Executive Director of International Youth for Africa (IYA).
The Panellists were Victor Ochen, with his main interests dynamic Role of the Youth in Peace Building: The Experience of a Nobel prize Nominee, Ms.Rosebell Kagumire with her main interests, women Succeeding in Male Domination Careers: The Experience of An Award Winning Female Journalist/ Blogger, Ms.Esther Nakjjiko with her main interests, On a Mission to Reduce Teenage Pregnancies in Uganda[Africa]: The Experience of a Young Female Humanitarian Ambassador and Mr. Ter Manyang Gatwech with his main interests , Gender Equality and Gender Glass Ceilings: Youth Empowerment: Women in Development, Women in Leadership and economic empowerment key for future.
The Guest of Honour was Former Minister Hon. Dr. Miria Matembe in Uganda, from a village path to the corridors of power. With the theme: Growing Our Ranks, Inspiring the Next Generations.
Mr. Victor Ochen, narrates his big experience to the young girls at the conference. He ‘’ said without his mother, he cannot be youth role model and peace ambassador today’’ Mr.Ochen is currently Executive Director of African Youth Initiative Network and Peace Ambassador at the United Nations. During the Lord Resistance Army rebellion in Northern for many years which forced him to stayed in refugees camps for decade in his own country. Ochen imposed a question on participants; he said why young people [youth] have been used by old people on their wars in Africa? He continued telling the 300 participants to remain in silence when there is the conflict in your respective country. He gives example of South Sudan’s crisis in December 2013 he blamed President Salva Kiir of using his own Dinka as tool without preventing the violence in time. I disagreed with Mr. Ochen on the point, says that youth should remain in silence during the conflict. Howe ever, Youth are the backbone of nation and useful resources to the nation. When there is no peace in the country, youth will decide whether to use forceful means or peaceful means to fight for justices, human dignity, human rights, freedom of expression and constitutionalism. Without justice, rule of law, human rights, freedom of expression, freedom of movement and human dignity and there is no country at all. He ended greetings the participants with his mother tongue.
Ms.Rosebell Kagumire with her main interests, women succeeding in Male Domination Careers: The Experience of An Award Winning Female Journalist/ Blogger. Started with paradigm for men should stopped the discrimination against women in work places and therefore, there is need to address the sexual harassment at homes, work places, friends which promoted by men in our daily life. She is only female Journalist working with New Vision in Kampala-Uganda were men are like behave like lions on her but, she has her uniqueness to knob them because of her personality. She continued do not allow men to mislead you at the workplaces kindly, focus on mission and vision in order for you to be strong woman. Community developments cannot succeed if it does not involved women and take advantages of their potentials. In other words women in both rural and urban have an important role to play in the sustenance and sustainability of the family and the rural economy she said. According to the United Nations) 1995) in African, a large number of the population are dependent on Agriculture for live head, and those a high participation rural for women in Agriculture. She gives example of South Sudanese women who do not know their whether at homes or workplaces. She requests me as Mr. Ter Manyang to help the women in order to continued advocacy for their rights in South Sudan and ended saying you make my day today guys especially Mr. Ter from South Sudan.
Ms.Esther Nakjjiko with her main interests, On a Mission to Reduce Teenage Pregnancies in Uganda: The Experience of a Young Female Humanitarian Ambassador. She was starting blaming both parents and young girls of not getting role models who are females in their communities. Under age teen girls get pregnancy everyday due to lack of parental cares at homes and lack of cycling telling story about young girls when under age of 14,15,16,17,18, and 19 years. When the young girl undergone menstruation period (MP) says young girls starting changing their physically appearance and behaviours. Young girls need to get role models who are medical Doctors in order to understand their cycles during MP stated. Her mother gave her a land for her tuition fee for University but she decided to give it to the community where the community will build a hospital which will help young girls. The lack of education on safe sex, whether it is from parents, schools, or otherwise, is a cause of teenage pregnancy. Many teenagers are not taught about methods of birth control and how to deal with peers who pressure them into having sex before they are ready. Families with two parents in the home have a lower incidence of teen pregnancies. However, even as a single parent, you can still extend the love, affection, and care your child needs. As a single parent you have less time for yourself, but your child needs a positive role model. How do you talk with your teens about the causes of teen pregnancy?
The Mr. Ter Manyang Gatwech with his main interest, Gender Equality and Gender Glass Ceilings: Youth Empowerment: Women in Development, Women in Leadership and economic empowerment key for future.
Why youth are not empowered in both public sector and private sector in Africa? In order for the Continent to be in peace, youth need to engage in many different ways so that they cannot and focus on useless things. Effective Participation refers to the process through which youth influence and actively engage in initiative, decisions and resources where youth’s voices are heard; this demands capacities in all aspects of life. Give example my own country, South Sudan where 65% of youth are educated but unemployed against 35% old age occupied all the positions due to their military background but, uneducated men. Youth are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but also the partners of today. Young people are social actors of change and progress. They are a crucial segment of a nation’s development. Their contribution, therefore, is highly needed. Thus, the involvement of youth in national development is a must. In fact, youths play one of the most important roles in nation building. Youth need to be creative and problem solver in Africa. Please don’t wait for your uncle to give you a job or a father. South Sudan crisis caused by unemployment for its citizens to participates in developmental programs and where the youth just consumed a tea for whole day and gossip. If all youth are employed not one can go to shrub now in the country. According to me.
Back to our question to the participants during the conference; Why women just holding ‘’soft positions’’ in public sector and private sector in Africa Continent? Africa is patriarchal Continent. These patriarchal attitudes often favour men over women in societies, men are head clans, head families, decision makers, and at the economic level, factors include poverty, unemployment and changing economic statuses among men and women. During 1980s South Sudanese women are not allowed to eat goat’s meats, cow meats and were very clawing during those days. It caused by glass ceiling and stereotyping on men.
Gender- Based Violence should be stopped in South Sudan against women. Gender-Based Violence is defined in various ways by different researchers and organizations. It is the general term used to capture violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectations associated with each gender, as well as the unequal power relationships between the genders within the context of a specific society (Bloom 2008:14. In defining Gender-Based Violence, the most common definition is that of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Eliminations of Violence against women in the world.
The most violations of human rights in South Sudan include; denying rights of the women in situations of conflict, such as systematic rape, sexual slavery, forced married, , forced sterilization, forced abortion, prenatal sex selection and female infanticide. Why my fellow men do not respects women in South Sudan/ Africa? Is it because of cultural beliefs in us? For example Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has responded to criticism from his wife by saying she belongs in his kitchen. President Buhari should stop his stereotypes and gender glass ceiling toward women in politics (public decision). A woman can do anything as a man does. Women were gives soft positions in Africa Continent which is not good in our Continent.
On a visit to Germany, he said: “I don’t know which party my wife belongs to, but she belongs to my kitchen and my living room and the other room.” He must distinction between home and public. Women are not ‘’Just’’ but they are human beings like men in the society. In Genesis God said’’ it is not good for a men to be alone but, I will him the helper and God refers to a woman. Gen. Buhari if your mother is not a woman cannot become President of Nigeria now in Africa. It is a shame for the one of the Africa’s largest country for the President to make such comment in public. ‘’ You educate a woman, you educate whole nation’’
How to stop violence in Africa Continent
1 – We need a strong government (Strong laws)
Our governments in Africa Continent are not good governments because they don’t follow the laws and the participles of democracy in Africa. We need good leaders [rulers] in order for the country to develop. I urged all African Presidents to follow the footsteps of former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. They should take the systems of Tanzania as a most peaceful country in Affric and Rwanda. In South Sudan there is no law and people take laws into their own hands. We should always vote for good leaders, fairs laws and strong police, and the judiciary, executive, parliament. In Africa there is no separation of powers which killed all the leaders. They don’t appoint you because of specialization but, ‘’know who’’. There is no democratization in Africa. Democratization refers to the transformation in a country’s political culture, from passive, non-participative citizens becoming active and not insisting that the state be alive to their aspirations, but also keeping a check on state power and providing constructive direction to its policies through regular and active participation in the political and developmental process (Juma 2002)
2 – We need good education Systems:
In nation to grow, there must be education systems in place in order for the country to move forward. African countries need quality education. In Africa leaders today, their children are studying aboard. In South Sudan when you enrolled for University and you stays in campus for good ten years without graduation due inappropriate education systems in South Sudan. There is a proverb says, ‘’he who feeds the child must be allowed to lick his fingers’’ African says. Schools should encourage young people to learn parenting and negotiating. In South Sudan one million children are out of schools due to conflict. According to NUER and DINKA culture, young men in the villages book girls at birth, even when they are days old, by paying some heads of cattle. Designated traditional beads which is put around the neck of a small girl, indicates which age group the husband to be belongs to. Such girls don’t go to school, as they fear of being regarded as ‘spoiled’ by these communities which value virginity
3 – Constitutionality and Constitutionalism:
Constitutionality the quality of being allowed by a contained in a constitution whereas the constitution is a written document forms the set of political principles by which a state or organization is governed especially in relation to the rights of the people it governs. Constitution must respected by all. The rule of law, human rights, freedom of expression, good governance, equal participation of men and women in public without discriminations. Africa leaders adopted what we called ‘’Constitutional Monarchy’’. This is a system in which the King or Queen’s power is severely limited because they act on the advice of the politicians who form the government. Effective participation must start from grass root level to the central government in order for the government to functions. Luke treat others the same way you want them to treat you.
’Every time there is violence near you, there is a right and a wrong thing to do. Think quickly about what to do that can help. Think about what could be dangerous for you or other people’’
Former Minister Hon. Dr. Miria Matembe in Uganda, from a village path to the corridors of power.
They were two children in the family. Their parents are very poor. Miria went to school up to primary seven (P.7.) in Uganda. After she managed to reach Senior Two (Form Two) her Mummy told her that, you will be withdraw from school due to lack of school fees because they were two children a boy and girls. Because those days family value boys than girls. Her brother repeated classes 4 times. Miria told her mother your decision is not good at all. I ‘’quote you are making too much discrimination in our family mother’’ she said during the conference. Miria went to Head Master to beg him in order to allow for her education. The HM permits her to continued her studies without paying any single money to the school administration. Miria completed her senior four and she went up to senior six. From there she managed to government scholarship. She was allowed to do Law at Makerere University and her Mummy came to ask the administration to remove her daughter from Law course. Her mother has that mindset where a girl cannot do that course simply because she is a woman. Her mother did not succeed due to language barriers in place and her daughter continued with Law course at the University. She graduated with Bachelors of Legal Law (BLL), with Masters of Legal Law and PhD in Law. She ended up with saying please focus on your long term vision and know who are. Get mentors and role models which will help you to move forward in future.
WHO IS HONORABLE DOCTOR MIRIA MATEMB?
Hon. Dr. Miria Rukoza Koburunga Matembe, is a founder member of the Centre for Women in Governance (CEWIGO). She is a born again Christian Lawyer, married to Nekemia Matembe, with whom they have four sons, a daughter-in-love and a grand-daughter. She is a former member of the Pan-African Parliament from Uganda. While on the Pan-African Parliament she was Chairperson of the Committee on Rules, Privileges and Discipline a permanent committee of the Pan-African Parliament.
She is a strong proponent for and an advocate of women’s human rights in Uganda. For close to two decades beginning in 1989 she was a member of Uganda’s parliament. She worked in the Ugandan government as Minister for ethics and integrity from 1998 to 2003, after which she became Member of Parliament with the Pan-African Parliament representing Uganda.
She was one of the 21 member commission that prepared the draft Constitution of Uganda which was later promulgated into the National Constitution of Uganda in 1995. Her contribution helped ensure that this document was one of the most progressive in the world in its attention to the human rights of women and other marginalised people. Hon. Matembe was also a delegate to the Constitutional Assembly which debated and promulgated the said National Constitution. In 1990, she was Deputy General of the Pan-African Congress held in Kampala. She is also a former lecturer on law and English at the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Kampala.
Hon. Miria Matembe’s story is one of lifelong dedication o justice and equality, and the variety and effectiveness of her work made her an ideal honoured for the convocation during which she was awarded her Honorary Doctorate. Her areas of interest and expertise are: (1) Political Empowerment of Women and (2) Youth and Issues of Ethics and Integrity in leadership.
The following organizations were invites by Uganda Women’s Network
- Action Aid
- Action for Development
- International Youth for Africa
- African Youth Initiative Network
- Solidarity for Youth Empowerment
- Uganda Youth Network
- Uganda Women’s Network
- United Nations Women and Gender Equality
- Nuer Women Organization for Peace
- Finance Trust Bank
Ter Manyang Gatwech, Executive Director, of International Youth for Africa, human rights activist and Commentator. Wrote a lot of issues about Human Rights, Rule of Law, Gender Mainstreaming, Gender Equality and Democratization in Africa Continent. Reachable at: firstname.lastname@example.org