DSC 2066Provincial Councils and Local Government Minister Faiszer Musthapha stated that the era of Family bandism, is over and he will usher in an era where the leadership is answerable to the electorate and there will be an increase in women’s representation in politics. Minister Faiszer expressed these ideas at an awareness workshop with heads of foreign Diplomatic missions, Representatives of Local and foreign Non-Government Organizations, Independent Election Observers at the Ministry Auditorium.

“In future elections which will be conducted under the mixed proportional electoral system and will ensure that the elected leaders will be answerable to the electorate, and will be conducted in a more independent manner.  Further there will be more women’s representation and only one member of a family will be allowed to contest making the political playing field more open to all.”

The ideas expressed by Minister Faiszer Musthapha during the workshop were “Today this Government has taken a very progressive step by ensuring 25% women’s representation in provincial councils and 25% women’s representation in local government Institutions.  By these enactments we hope to increase women’s representation. Our expectations are not to put this minister’s or that Member’s or Local political strongman’s wife or daughter in to provincial councils or Local Government authorities. If we did not take action in this regard the law will be utilized to use the quota of 25% to bring the daughters and wives of politicians into the Provincial Councils and Local Authorities. Therefore we will give this opportunity to others.  The Politicians of those areas can say this is my Daughter or so and so is my wife but if we give an opportunity to them they will not be utilizing their authority but that of their father’s.  I therefor request everybody to refrain from introducing their kith and kin to politics when recommending the names of the women who will be chosen.  I also request all Political parties to limit their representatives to only one family member and this will give rise to a more progressive political culture.

Some may say that my wife was elected to office. However if the same opportunity was given 22 million other people would be able to enter into politics. Therefore my expectation of this discussion is that we should work together.  Today these Non-Government Organizations have separate women’s representation. We also do the same. Thus we are repeating the same process twice over. We should commence a program on encouraging women’s representation.  However we should encourage only those women who are genuinely interested to participate otherwise it will be of no use and will end up being just another class room.  I have seen this happen in some places and this is fruitless.

We should select a few women and after giving them a training they should be used to attract more women to enter the political field. We cannot make this just another class room giving lectures.  So my idea is to obtain everyone’s corporation and bring about the necessary changes.  The reason is that we should use this representation properly. However there is a problem in that women are reluctant to vote for women. We must give women the confidence to take up the mantle of leadership.  If we men and women were able to make Sirmawo Bandaranayake the prime minister then we should not stop there. We did one thing for the world we were the first county to appoint a woman as prime minister.

There is another matter. When nominations are made it is compulsory to nominate 10% women to the electorate.  Also 50% of the lists should have women representatives.  I believe that this will encourage more women’s representation.  Although the act of 2016 had provision for women’s representation it is this Act that ensures proper representation.  Today it is those with commitment who will be entering politics.  I think that political parties enquiry from anyone who was ready to submit his nomination whether he had money.  The people know about those persons.   Therefore I am seeking your corporation to implement this political change.”
The elections to provincial councils will be held in January.  I will be submitting a memorandum to Cabinet regarding women’s representation and the proposed workshops and programs and awareness programs through media.