Women in politics express concern over the excessive commercialisation of politics

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Women in politics express concern over the excessive commercialisation of politics
Women in politics during the symposium.

Women involved in politics and civil society have raised their voices against the current state of affairs, denouncing the heavy commercialization of politics that effectively excludes many women from fully participating in elections and governance.

This critical issue was the focal point of a symposium organized by Akina Mama Wa Afrika in collaboration with Uganda Women’s Network, with a particular emphasis on the roles of women in politics and leadership.

At the symposium, Victoria Sekitoleko, a former Minister of Agriculture, underscored the leadership capabilities of women but lamented the ongoing frustration they face due to the prevalence of money-driven election processes that overshadow substantive issues.

"If you are a young girl or woman planning to enter politics, do not make a hasty decision. Start preparing now, as your past actions and present efforts will determine your success. While politics has sadly become excessively monetized, I believe that Ugandans still recognize merit. Women need to learn the necessary strategies to overcome these challenges; it's not about being liked," she said.

Phiona Nyamutoro, the Minister of State for Energy and Mineral Development, acknowledged the challenges encountered by women across various sectors and emphasized the importance of fostering a supportive environment conducive to the advancement of women.

She stressed the significance of solidarity among women in comprehending their roles and working towards intentional outcomes. Nyamutoro called for a reevaluation of the women's movement, expressing concern over its decline and urging women leaders to devise new strategies to revive its original vigour.

"The women's movement has lost its essence. We must redefine what it means to be a woman and what we aim to achieve," stated Nyamutoro.

She further emphasised the inadvertent promotion of patriarchal norms and the need to unite women from all sectors to become active participants in the movement.

Nyamutoro highlighted the importance of women being deliberate about the results they desire, encouraging them to take prominent positions, speak up more, and empower each other.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, former First Lady of Ekiti State in Nigeria and the founder of Akina Mama Wa Afrika delivered a keynote address where she encouraged women to build networks to overcome these challenges.

She emphasised the significance of strategic planning and prioritizing quality over quantity.

Eunice Musiime, the Executive Director at Akina Mama Wa Afrika, highlighted the financial barriers faced by women in terms of official election registration and campaign funding.

She shed light on the challenges arising from the commercialization of politics for women.

"There is a lot that needs to be done, but some changes cannot be achieved in the short term. Transforming our political culture and environment is a long-term process. Let me address the issue of the monetization of politics. A substantial amount of money is spent on politics and the political process, and not many women have access to such funds to spend on reaching out to voters. We must raise awareness and tackle this issue," she said.

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