Vanuatu women candidates encouraged to start acting like MPs

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11th August, 2012

Group picture of workshop participants showing CDI Facilitators Dr Kelly in back row right and Kilip Semu back row left and Leinavao Tasso seated front row at right

A total of 23 women leaders including former MP of Epi Leinavao Tasso have been told to start acting like Parliamentarians now 61 days ahead of the general elections.  Workshop Facilitator Dr Norm Kelly of Pacific and Leadership Programme & Centre for Democratic Institutions said women proposed candidates have to dress and act like members of parliament now ahead of the elections. In actual political campaigns, their message has to be clear and concise and powerful backed by an eye catching slogan.

On how to reply to mounting criticism from their opponents, the facilitators said criticisms can be made to work against the critics too.
For example, women candidates can remind their listeners of past positive contributions to the communities following a cyclone, without touching on the criticisms.  Asked to help political new comers on how to handle criticisms by their opponents, experienced women’s leader from Tafea Outer Islands Helen Naupasaid it is important for one to look before one leaps. She referred to Jean-Marie Leye’s now popular warning of making sure not to “spit into the wind”, while free minded men can also support women in their political visions in their campaign.
The workshop has been planned to take the women through a number of important presentations by various national leaders over five days of workshop.

Former Head of State and Advisor to the Constitutional Committee Kalkot Mataskelekele was listed to speak on Constitutional Provision on fundamental responsibilities and Constitutional Provision on Parliamentary Democracy, Government and the State and the Leadership Code.  The country’s First Attorney General Silas Hakwa was to speak on the Peoples Representation Act, Understanding the role of Parliament, Role of the Speaker, Role of the Electoral College and Role of an MP in their Constituency and in Parliament.  The Principal Electoral Officer was to speak on Vanuatu’s Electoral System and Procedures while the Clerk of Parliament was to speak on Parliamentary Standing Orders and Law-making Process.

(Pastor) Sethy Regenvanu was to speak on the Role of the Government inside and outside parliament and Understanding the Appropriation Bills concerning Revenue and Expenditure.  MP Edward Natapei was to speak on the Role of the Opposition inside and outside Parliament.
Dorosday Kenneth (Director of Women’s Affairs) was to speak on Understanding Key Policy Issues showing 30% women’s representation in shared decision making.  Kelly and Semu took the participants through the Fundamentals how to deliver an effective, convincing political message to counter attacks from opponents.  The topics they covered included Developing your message, Developing campaign materials, Dealing with the media, Public speaking and Fundraising and Budgeting.

The workshop is organised by the Department of Women’s affairs in partnership with the Pacific Leadership Programme & Centre for Democratic Institutions which is an initiative of the Australian Aid Programme.  CDI has been actively involved in training proposed women candidates in a number of Pacific Island countries including Vanuatu.  The current workshop is organised 61 days ahead of the 2012 general elections.

The participants are women national leaders from the Provinces including Port Vila Town Constituency proposed candidates Jenny Ligo, Wendy HimfordLettyWilliam and Maryanne Bani.  The Port Vila proposed four are going to contest against current VP MP Edward Natapei and Graon mo Jastis Pati MP Ralph Regenvanu.

Vanuaty Daily Post by Len Garae

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