CEWIGO’s Community Gender Advocacy Groups transforming Gender Stereotypes to promote women’s participation in the 2021 Elections in Uganda: Mr. Mayaabo Eliasaf’s story
Mr. Mayaabo Eliasaf , is a resident of Kakoma ward, Kakiika division in Mbarara city. For the past 20 years, he has served as the LC II Chairperson of Kakoma ward; a post he plans to retire from this year. Mr. Mayaabo is married to Ms. Lillian Tushemerweire, a Councillor at LC IV level in Kakiika division. Mr. Mayaabo is an active member of CEWIGO’s Community Gender Advocacy Group; a structure that CEWIGO has empowered to promote women’s equal participation in politics and decision making processes in their communities. CEWIGO is proud to be associated with Mr. Mayaabo because he is one of the Male Champions that are utilizing the knowledge and skills gained from the organization’s trainings to mobilize fellow men to support their wives to contest for positions in the upcoming 2021 General elections.
He narrates that before his wife became a politician, she was a renowned model vegetable/fruit farmer from whom community members learnt good farming practices. While carrying out her work and teaching the community free of charge, he was able to notice her leadership and people skills; so when she expressed her desire to contest in the 2016 general elections, he was more than willing to support her. He not only provided financial support but also moved with her during the campaigns and introduced her to his political allies.
When asked why he was willing to let his wife engage in active politics, he responded by saying, “My wife is a trustworthy and intelligent person. Even before joining politics, she used to help me objectively assess and judge cases especially conflicts between women and men that were brought to me as the LC II Chairperson, that is how I identified her leadership abilities.” He adds that, “Politics was a good opportunity for my wife to get out of the kitchen, meet people and gain exposure.” He admits that the allowances his wife earns have contributed to the education of their six (6) children and take care of some of their household basic needs.
He notes that even though the wife occupies a higher political position than his, she has never abandoned her roles as a woman at home. He says, “I am proud to call my wife my boss when we are in meetings”. He continues, “She informs me of her daily programs and she never leaves the house without ensuring that everything is in order. We understand each other and resolve our issues amicably. Many men are against their wives joining politics because they assume that they will become proud and also engage in extra-marital affairs. They need to believe and trust in their wives like myself!”. He plans to still accord her his support since she is going to contest again in the same position in the 2021 elections.
He concludes by thanking CEWIGO for the contribution made towards changing communities’ negative mind-sets about gender equality and pledged to continue working as an advocate for women’s equal and meaningful participation in political leadership.