Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chimbu's five sum up fight for reserved seats

SYLIA Gonapa, Bepi Dom Apa, Schola Yauma, Jilla Kaupa and Dawa Sandra Terence each spent K40 this week to travel by road from Kundiawa to Lae and fly from there to Port Moresby, The National reports.

The mothers, from Sinasina-Yongomugl, came to give their support for the bill for the 22 reserved seats in parliament for women and, more importantly, to ensure their local member and speaker of parliament Jeffrey Nape did likewise.

Nape is the key man in parliamentary deliberations, they said.

They wanted to witness him supporting and passing the bill through the first reading so that they can go back and tell the women of Sinasina-Yongomugl that their MP did the right thing by them.

The mothers said: “For 35 years, we (women) have been observers and labourers while men made decisions affecting our lives,” Gonapa said.

“Now, we want to support this bill so that we can also help make decisions.

“Now, we have come to see this bill passed. We have used our own money to make sure this bill is passed.”

Schola Yauma said: “Man cannot work alone. We produce children together.

“We must make decisions affecting the child’s welfare together.

“We are not after money. We want to participate in decision-making for the betterment of our children.

“We want our MP and speaker to support this bill.”

Bepi Apa said: “We see in the newspapers the good work that Dame Carol Kidu is doing.

“She is making good decisions, but there is only one of her.

“What good we could do in this country if there were another 20 Kidus.”

Gonapa added: “In a home, both man and woman make decisions for the welfare of their family. So far, we have only seen man making the decisions.

“Decision-making in PNG is like a plane flying on one wing.”

There was another, slightly dark aspect, to this which the women said they were aware of.

Presently, only a few women were taking up the fight for reserved seats but, when the law is passed, businesswomen and educated women, who were now passive observers, would take centre stage in trying to vie for the seat, they said.

The Sinasina women said women leadership must be about bringing real change and not about wealth, power and ego trips.

They said they had seen enough of that already and that the push to get women into parliament was really to make a difference, and not to bask in personal glory.

The women went to parliament yesterday along with truckloads of other women who had also flown, trucked or sailed in from different parts of the country on the promise that the bill would be presented, but, parliament adjourned to today to do so.

Word on the bill was that cabinet had made the necessary adjustments and it was ready for presentation.

Dame Carol will present the bill to amend section 101 of the constitution, which has the personal support and blessing of Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare.


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