UDM deputy president says women’s department doing little-to-nothing about GBV crisis

UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa.
UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa.
Image: Nqabayomzi Kwankwa via Twitter

The UDM's deputy president, Nqabayomzi Kwankwa, has questioned the women's department's role, saying it has failed to face the challenges of gender-based violence (GBV).

Kwankwa attended the National Assembly's debate on 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children on Tuesday.

The debate was under the theme, “Enough is enough — 365 days to end Gender-Based Violence”.

In his speech, Kwankwa said the department was doing little-to-nothing.

“This department, to us [UDM], fails us in its programme of social transformation and economic empowerment. Policy stakeholder co-ordination and knowledge management, even though useful, is not what we need to address the current crisis of gender-based violence.

“The department has no teeth and issuing statements after violence has occurred, as required, is not useful,” said Kwankwa.

He said a major point of concern for the UDM was that alleged crimes were reported daily on social media.

“As a society that lives in the digital era, we have to do something about the rising levels of GBV that take place in online spaces, with little girls and young women regularly reporting harassment and abuse on these platforms that go unpunished and unnoticed to a point where they [have] to exercise self-censure,” he said.

When contacted for comment, the women's department said it doesn't comment on statements made by political party heads.

Kwankwa also said that every year the country shines a spotlight on the issues of GBV and the National Assembly debates them, but no progress was being made.

“In both rural areas and cities, gender-based violence occurs in public spaces, and in some of the instances, especially in the rural areas, it even occurs in public transport.

“Anecdotal evidence suggests that in the past we've seen violence against women and children escalate and we must acknowledge the role that the media has played in highlighting this devastating phenomenon,” said Kwankwa.

He said there was a tendency among men to shame and blame victims for the violence.

“I would like to make it categorically clear on behalf of the UDM that our women and children cannot be held responsible for the violence that happens to them. It is the responsibility of the perpetrators.”

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