Ex-MP calls for GBV law
ACTIVIST and former Senqu constituency Member of Parliament, Matšeliso Tuoane-Sepiriti said the country needs to go beyond simply holding commemorative functions and pass legislation to combat the scourge of gender-based violence as well as child abuse.
Ms Tuoane-Sepiriti’s comments were made in the context of the just-ended 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence commemorations held from 26 November to 10 December.
She said the commemorations were observed largely by government officials while women and children continued to be marginalised and “suffering in the rural areas”.
“Women are still regarded as minors and they still put up with all sorts of abuse. Some are not even aware that they are being abused because naturally they are vulnerable,” Ms Tuoane-Sepiriti said.
She said in addition to embarking on campaigns aimed at empowering women and children, the Gender ministry should lobby parliament to pass legislation to explicitly guarantee the rights of girl children to inherit what was rightfully theirs.
“Basotho men still need sensitisation on issues surrounding women and children’s rights and on the other hand women and children still need to be sensitised on their rights and the elements of gender-based violence.
“The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence should not be just about printing t-shirts and caps and making speeches, it should make us a better nation that is empowered and knows its rights,” she said.
Ms Tuoane-Sepiriti also called on Basotho to focus on eliminating deaths related to gender-based violence and children. Children in in rural areas, she said, should be afforded the chance to play and go to school.
“Our politicians need to show more political will towards this issue and there have to be some havens for abused women where they can be given counselling and get help to face the world even with their scars,” she added.