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SEGREGATION BASED ON GENDER

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Sir,
 
I believe Parliament is responsible for the amendment of the Constitution. But because of the way our parliamentarians conduct themselves, I doubt they have the nerve to discuss this matter and have the Constitution amended. No Constitution is ever perfect and that is inclusive of ours, but it seems the people who should be working on it are not willing or are clueless.
My concern with the Constitution is that it does not give anyone the responsibility of capacitating the nation on human rights.

Identified

No one is identified as the person or institution that is supposed to teach emaSwati on human rights. We cannot leave such an important responsibility to non-governmental organisations that rely on donor funding for their existence. Rather, I would have a clause that will say government will fund certain organisations to teach the citizens of Eswatini on their rights. We are a patriarchal country where men are usually given preference over women. So our custom dictates that land should be allocated to a male and not a woman. This in my opinion is unconstitutional. Section 20 of the Constitution says all people are equal. This section provides that people should not be segregated in any way, including gender and birth.

Custom

Are we not acting contrary to the Constitution when we uphold our patriarchal custom of giving land only to males when section 211 is also clear on this. Section 211 (2) reads; “Save as may be required by the exigencies of any particular situation, a citizen of Eswatini without regard to gender, shall have equal access to land for normal domestic purposes.” This section is clear that every liSwati shall have access to land unless there are certain exigencies.

Discriminatory

But gender is not one of those exigencies. Therefore, my opinion is that the custom that says women should be assisted by males to acquire land is discriminatory and in violation of the Constitution. Many women, especially in rural areas, are not aware that the Constitution allows them to access land without being assisted by their male children or male relatives.
They are aware that there is a Constitution in the country that provides for women’s rights, but they do not know what those rights are.

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