Dialogues: A key tool in supporting free and meaningful engagement of women in politics

Recent trends of the pre-election era have shown that violence has taken root especially towards the women for example; the Inter Party Cooperation (IPC) women were brutally arrested for expressing their dissatisfaction with the Electoral Commission of Uganda. This unrelenting violence against women in leadership causes a terrifying environment for the women hence diminishing their interest in joining leadership and decision making positions. This also hinders women’s participation in the political space.

A code of conduct clearly stipulating the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders (including the Electoral Commission, media, women leaders, political party representatives, the Uganda Police, extra) was therefore developed by participants during dialogues organised by UWONET in the 2011 general elections of Uganda.

The dialogues were organized by UWONET with support from CARE- Uganda with the aim of fostering or creating a favorable environment for women in leadership and decision making. These were held in selected districts in the different regions of Uganda that is western, central, eastern and the northern region.

The Uganda Police and the political parties used the opportunity of participating in the dialogues to resolve their conflicts. The political party representatives had beliefs that the police had vendettas.

More still the different stakeholders played their part as earlier agreed during the dialogues:- the police provided protection to the electorate and their property especially in the districts where the dialogues were held. There was also less tension between the police, electorate and political parties and the electorate was able to work with the different security agencies.

There was also increased inter cooperation among individuals from the different political parties manifested in the continued interactions hence bringing about a common understanding which was not seen in the previous election periods.

A violence free election is every one’s right and responsibility. UWONET would like to take this opportunity to thank all the stake holders who enabled a favorable environment for women in leadership during the 2011 general elections.

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