‘Affirmative Action Cripples Women’s Participation in Politics…’- Prof Mamdani

Published By UNNGOF |  April 7, 2016

On Friday 11th March 2016, Centre for Basic Research hosted the fifth debate seminar on the 2016 Elections. The seminar was attended by participants ranging from Academia, Civil Society, political parties, central and local Government, cultural institutions, the youth, Media, Development partners as well as all the authors.

The chapters discussed included: : “I want some more; The Politics of Recognition and the Language of Special Interest Groups in Uganda’s Post movement Elections” by Josephine Ahikire; “The Role of the Judiciary in the Promotion of electoral Democracy in the 2016 Elections” by Ben Kiromba Twinomugisha,  “Inclusion and Exclusion in the Run Up to the 2016 General Elections: The Case of gender Equality” Aramanzan Madanda, and  “Beyond Electoral Reforms in the Assessment of Opposition Performance at the Polls” by Moses Khisa and S. Rwengabo.

Commenting on the draft chapters presented by the authors, Prof. Mahmood Mamdani noted that there is need to clearly define affirmative action in the Ugandan context and its relationship to politics. He further wondered whether the women MP represent women in Parliament or simply represent the state to the women since the state deliberately creates new districts in a bid to increase their number of seats. This kind of model has crippled women participation in the mainstream politics as every woman runs to contest as a woman MP (seat created for women only) and in the end, we cannot therefore measure how much affirmative action has contributed to the general enhancement of women participation in politics.

On the same chapters, Mr. Boaz Muhumuza argued that when it comes to Special Interest Groups (SIGs), government gives what it can afford to lose, allowing representation of SIGs because it would not have any real impact on the power it has. He further stated that the conversation around SIGs should be moved from representation which they have already achieved and more to re-distribution. The conversation needs to move away from ‘begging’ to ‘making’ demands. Special interests groups should not be asking for more but rather for different.

The participants called for the removal of the army from Parliament as a special interest group and also called for the re-examination of special interest group representation to Issues based representation.