There was near commotion at a women empowerment meeting in Kalonga ward of Shangombo district yesterday over the donation of KR500 for buying refreshments.
ZANIS reports that this occurred at a meeting called by Gender deputy minister Josephine Limata who is on a familiarization tour of women empowerment programmes in the province.
The expectant participants who came to the meeting from different villages in the ward were divided after the deputy minister gave the money to a group of villagers who coincidentally just represented the western part of the ward.
However, trouble ensued when other villagers from other parts of the ward demanded the same amount from the minister.
It took the intervention and negotiating skills of the deputy minister for the warring parties to agree to settle the matter peacefully after which drinks were bought for everyone in attendance.
And differences arose in Kalonga ward of Shangombo district when some concerned men learnt about government’s empowerment fund for women.
The men in the ward said it was unfair for government to set up the empowerment fund for women alone.
But Gender deputy minister Josephina Limata said men were also targeted through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) among other empowerment funds.
One of the concerned men, Likelo Likeko of Kalonga ward , stood his ground demanding that he too should be given the opportunity to apply for the empowerment funds.
He said that it was an justified for government to target women in its empowerment programme.
He told ZANIS in an interview that men just like women also faced hardships and that was only fair that the empowerment programme should be extended to them as well.
But Mrs Limata explained that there were other funds that government had set up that members of the general public could access and benefit from.
The deputy minister is on a ten day tour of southern and western provinces to sensitize women on the availability of the empower fund under her ministry which they can access by applying through registered clubs.
And Mrs Limata said government was concerned about the rising cases of gender based violence cases in the country.
She said it was saddening to note that both men and women in the country where just spectators on the GBV cases instead of combating the vice.
She also advised the residents in the area to report any one to the police if found abusing any member of their family.
The minister added that it was unfortunate that on the pretext of wanting to care for children in rural areas, the breadwinners often turn these vulnerable children into cheap labour.
“ Most of the people are collecting dependants on the pretext of looking after them but in the end abuse them,” she said.
These children are given a lot of work to do at home leaving them with little or no time for them to do their homework, said the deputy minister.