The first ever men’s parliament will start it’s work on Monday at the Old Assembly Chamber in Parliament. It’s priority will be eliminating the scourge of gender-based violence.
In a country where it is reported that at least 10 women are being raped and killed everyday, the men’s parliamentary session is deemed a necessity. This response by the national legislature follows the recent presidential gender summit, where shocking incidents of women abuse were laid bare.
Parliament says law-makers cannot continue to be spectators of such gross violations of women’s rights.
“In the vision of our country to create a non-racial, gender-sensitive society, that vision will only be realised in our society patriarchy is one of those roots,” says deputy speaker of parliament, Lechesa Tsenoli.
Organisers of the men’s parliament blame the criminal justice system for being the missing link in the fight against gender violence. Lawmakers are expected to tighten up legislation which will enable the courts to act decisively against women abusers.
“We are seeing the criminal justice system having a different notion of who a perpetrator is when its black men they go to prison, not that I got any confidence with the prison system,” says Gender Summit’s Mmabatho Ramogoshi.
The theme of the session is “institutionalizing a Responsive Men’s Movement.”The launch coincides with International Men’s Day which has been observed annually on the 19th of November since 1992.