Forum for Democratic Change [FDC] party president Patrick Oboi Amuriat has promised FDC women leaders to keep the party alive and not allowing it to be taken away from them.
Speaking at the women’s conference ongoing at Esella country hotel in Kira-Najjera, Wakiso district.
Amuriat said his election was yet another demonstration of the democratic credentials that makes them as FDC recognizable from a crowded field of political groups, where in some cases positions are ring fenced for an individual.
In the last nearly two very busy years of my tenure, the party has endured a lot of political storms, but together with my colleague national leaders and with your constant help and support; we were able to weather the storm. I thank you all.
“In the last two days we listened to various eloquent speeches from well-polished presenters pointing at the need for you not to leave any of your female colleagues behind. Your hard work has shaped the trajectory we should take to enhance women participation as well as stimulating their appetite for political office at different levels.”
Amuriat said clearly women participation in all spheres of national development is a matter that does not need any more emphasis, it is a necessity.
“I wish to salute our forefathers and you the mothers of this nation who have immensely contributed to the fight for women’s emancipation.”
“Despite all these efforts and the attendant gains, today a number of women’s issues still remain outstanding. I wish to call on all of us to remain committed to raising women’s unheard voices.”
He added: “I wish to remind you that as we sat here the last two days 34 women out there in our country died giving birth, the girl children still drop out of school because they lack sanitary towels, the woman in the household especially in rural Uganda faces the greatest burden raising a family due to poor social services, male dominance causes the number of women in leadership positions to remain low, women suffer the biggest brunt of wars and political harassment and number of women murdered is on the increase. All these require quick solutions especially from you who live with these challenges on a daily basis.”
Amuriat said whereas FDC strives to include 40% women in leadership positions at all levels, they have not even been able to attain 30% women participation in leadership envisaged in the national constitution and guided by National Electoral Commission.
“This is certainly a challenge for all of us particularly you women leaders who should now use the knowledge and skills acquired from this conference to push the women’s agenda in our party forward.”
“In doing this, the FDC expects you to conscientise your communities, aggressively recruit especially women into the party, organize women to act on the basis of issues, provide leadership in the formation of women leaders structures, popularize your party and be a front for fundraising activities.”
He said if they are investing in building a fair and just society as a Party, they must invest in women, this is the smart strategy and it does not happen without vigilance and targeted strategies to ensure women are direct beneficiaries of this approach.
“However before doing this I must pause to remind us all of what no one in this room needs reminding of: that fundamentally, to promote gender equality and women’s rights, bring back dignity for everyone, male or female, we need immediate change of government in Uganda. I also count on you to avail yourselves to all forms of struggle meant to free our country from the chains and shackles of dictatorship.”
He said there is need a government with a clear accountability framework that lives up to the global commitments that it has made—in particular some of those commitments signed in the Millennium Development Goals and those that were made at the World Humanitarian Summit—as detailed in the Grand Bargain about Gender Equity.
“Mr. Museveni’s NRM government has failed to this task. To date women suffer with no swift solutions to provide a conducive environment that guarantees equity.”
“Colleagues, to meet the call of the thousands and millions that are looking to us for action, within the FDC and outside of it, and that are frustrated by the inaction of this government, we must continue to strive to make good on our commitments to gender equality, despite the multitude of hurdles that may seem impossible to overcome.”
“And we must ensure that these efforts are grounded in inclusion and diversity in all our documentation and actions during decision making processes. Women must continue to be part of parcel of all this.”
He cited an urgent need for a reorganization of the women’s league. Just like a tree that sheds its leaves and grows new buds to show renewal, Amuriat said he foresees a renaissance of the once vibrant women’s League.
“We must disapprove those who seem to believe that their departure from the league spells doom to it. I promise on behalf of the party to champion the women’s cause in our party and country as a whole. We can guarantee that we will support the participation of women in electoral activities under the current multi – party dispensation.”
“As Forum for Democratic Change, we shall always measure our success not just in whether gender needs are met, but also whether through meeting those needs we have also empowered those we are serving, and worked to ensure greater equality between men and women.”