Gender-based violence and women’s participation in politics at Local Council level : A case of Rwampara County, Mbarara District
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This study focused on how Gender Based Violence (GBV) impedes women’s political participation particularly at the level of Local Council politics. It also examined why women continue to be discriminated against in political engagements and participations despite the seemingly favourable government policies and laws. It examines this multifaceted evil of GBV and particularly Violence against women (VAW) and how it manifests in different ways ranging from cultural, political, emotional, psychological and other dimensions to shrink the political space and hinder the participation of women. The research aimed at finding out the manifestations of GBV. Methodologically, the study used qualitative method of research to interview local women in Kashekure and Kigando cells of Rwampara County, Mbarara district. Key informants such as LC I Chairpersons, Police officers especially the in charge of the “Political Electoral Desk” at Mbarara central Police Station were also interviewed. The findings reveal that indeed GBV is real and manifests in different forms and local women in Rwampara County were victims especially when it came to the question of freedom of expression where a good number of women confessed to suffering political violence not only from their spouses, but also counterparts. It was also noted that even some women after being elected into political offices, their spouses find all possible excuses to make them fail which worsens the already bad situation. The different stakeholders should be mobilized to mitigate the cases of GBV using the existing laws and policies. In addition, the communities and NGOs working with on gender equality and women’s empowerment should hold duty bearers accountable regarding protecting women’s rights. Therefore, this study recommends further research on the contributions of women’s effective participation in politics at the local level to influence the communities’ acceptability and support women’s engagement in politics.