By Isaac Vuni
May 10, 2007 (JUBA) — Sudanese women have agreed that undemocratic practices are still dominating the internal life in the political parties in the country. Yesterday during the national conference of Sudanese women in politics held in Juba, Female representatives from various political forces said negatives attitude of male towards women hinders female progress in within the party.
Dr.Mariam el Sadig said Umma party was established in 1945 and has 80 members out of which 16 are female. The party has 9 specialized committees including female and that it will ensure that 30% seats would be contested for by women in the coming election.
Southern Sudan Democratic Forum (SSDF) was represented by Mrs. Luka Pakesero who says the party was established in 1990 ; she said there is no equality or fairness in allocation of position to female in SSDF. She noted that there are only two female at National assembly but one person has defected to SPLM.
Mrs. Pakesero says male domination translates to female sub-domination. Hence she emphasized on empowerment of women as key to development in Sudan.
“We must reduce violence languages against each other instead have a strong networking of Sudanese women than being enemy to each other” she recommends.
Mrs. Rose Peter says the Union of Sudan African Party (USAP) was established in 1990 in order to support the two main parties who are signatories to the CPA. The party has
Four MPs in states of Lakes, Unity, and Northern Bahr el Ghazal.
Mrs. Najath Abdelrahman Sule says United Democratic Front (UDF) was established in 2003 and has 3 PM a government of national unity but unfortunately one member died ; adding that there are only three female at the higher party organ.
Mrs. Anna Laila representing Sudan African National Union (SANU) party position says it was established in 1948, and has Executive committee of five members including female who constituted 30% at both GONU and Goss level.
She further said women representations in the ten states of southern Sudan are fairly good and translating to also 30%.
Presenting position of the United Democratic Sudan Front party, Hon. Agnes Florence Odwar say the party was established in 1999 and it has 12 members of Executive committee. At Central office it has 3 female out of 12 and at state level it has 2 female out of 12 men.
Mrs. Odwar says as far as women representations are concern, there is no democracy in UDSF party. Adding that negatives attitude of male towards women hinders female from progressing to higher position in the party.
Presenting SPLM position on female representation, Wednesday evening, to the national conference of Sudanese women in politics, Mrs. Grace Datiro Okeru, Education minister in Western Equatoria state, says SPLM has 15 female out of 50 male at the National Council of the party, five women out of 35 male in SPLM Political Bureau offices.
From this figure, it’s clear that SPLM as a party has not adequately fulfilled its obligation to female representation. However, she noted that in some states women representation has gone to nearly 40%.
In follow-up interviews, Mrs. Okeru says, SPLM has not yet fully implemented its commitment of granting women the 25% positions at all levels of government in southern Sudan.
The SPLM/A in a meeting held at Chukudum in 1994 officially recognized women participation in the liberation struggle by granting the 25% ration of all positions in southern Sudan and it was incorporated in SPLM/A draft constitution in May 1998. The SPLM political wing was established on July 31st 1983 and later became a party in March 2005.
Meanwhile the National Congress party representative, Mrs. Alawia Abdalla says NCP has underscored its obligation to women 25% representation at all levels of the party organ. However, she noted that traditions and customs hinder women progress in Sudan compounded with lack of education especially to rural female to handling offices. She also noted that there is lack of political exposure for female at international level.
BAD HEALTH CARE
In a situation where people have emerged from prolonged bitter war like in Sudan, population and reproductive health care are key to peace, says Health Planner of UNFPA, Dr. Odongo Odiyo.
Dr. Odiyo further said reproductive health care in southern Sudan is very poor ; referral and access to health care are very difficult especially for pregnant women who are often exposed to obstetric complications. He also noted that there are congestions and lack of facilities in southern Sudan hospitals.
He says although Benteui has one of the best hospitals, it lacks human resource and facilities for its operation. Adding that one out of every 16 women in southern Sudan dies during delivery while HIV/AIDS poses great danger to southern Sudan population and the four states of ; Western Equatoria, Central Equatoria, Upper Nile, and Western Bahr el Ghazal HIV/AIDS rate are very high. Meanwhile southern Sudan has 2-21% of its population infected with the deadly HIV virus.
Mr. William Hai Zaza says there is a marginal gape between Sudanese female in area of Digital Divide and Women in Media ; adding that female as bread winner in every homes needed to venture into the new Informatics technology to enhance their business communication transaction both in the government and private sectors.
Adding that informatics technology has tremendously changed the pattern of social communication world wide therefore appeal to Sudanese women to embrace information technology for easy communication and also to encourage their children to take IT courses as means of modern communication.
However, Mr. Zaza noted that Sudanese women and children will fall prey to the HIV and pornographic pictures and films internet.
He urges Sudanese women to establish their own radio station to air and reflect women prepared activities.
Meanwhile a paper on Women in Public Service prepared by Mrs. Awatif Mohamed Kamil and presented by Hon. Hellen Oller states that Sudanese women are daily rendering free service to their family besides their additional jobs in offices and private sectors, yet men dominated administrators does not and are not willing to recognize women’s contributions remarks Mrs. Oller.
However, Mrs. Oller noted that number of female pursuing science education in various Sudan higher Institutions are promising and that in two years to come, female would takes over scientific ministries because currently they are the majority in those higher institutions of learning in the Sudan.
However, Mrs. Oller sadly stated that there is discrimination in Sudan Public Service ministry in term of paying compensation or post service benefits between the married and unmarried female or male.
She said the married and unmarried male are pay their benefits without discrimination while unmarried female are subjected to compensation discrimination with less pay despite their many years of service than their colleagues who are married but has less period in service besides some of them are married young graduates.
She urges women to get organized and write a petition to public service through the parliamentarians female so that an act could be enact by parliament to correct such disparities on unmarried female.
On Thursday May 10, the conference organizers received additional donation from Sudanese first lady Mrs. Fatima Khalil Bashir 50 million Sudanese pounds, Mrs. Samira Ahmed Mohamed gave 10 million Sudanese pounds, Minister of parliamentarian affairs Mr. Joseph Ukello gave 2,500,000 and Joint donor team gave 14,000 US dollars while the local business lady Mrs. Rose Lado donated chairs for group. And South African delegation offered an invitation to Mama Lucy Akelo, promoter of self help project initiatives among southern Sudan community to visit South African women groups.
The conference is expected to come up with recommendations, tomorrow, that would be presented to the authorities of the government of national unity, government of southern Sudan and the state governments in Sudan.