“We will make the wishes of the Mamas come through whereby Mamas dream of a world when they can work with their male leaders to make changes and direct Vanuatu into a better future and share resources with all the grassroot citizens of Vanuatu because every citizen has the right to have a better life”.

Dr. Andrina KL Thomas makes the above statement on behalf of the Vanuatu Civil Society Influencing Network and the Leleon Vanua Democratic Party (LVDP).

She makes the clarification after one of the women’s leaders, Anna Blessing, chaired the National Women’s Strategic Political Dialogue in Farea Pacifica in Mele Village for Mamas of Vanuatu in the last two weeks.

She explains, “The Mamas of Vanuatu who attended the Advocates for Women and the Vanuatu Civil Society Influencing Network’s National Women’s Strategic Political Dialogue are responding to provide clarity on issues raised by Jenny Ligo.

“Jenny Ligo was part of the Vanuatu National Council of Women’s Conference held at Farea Pasifika at Mele Village in 2018.

“She was part of the provincial and Municipal Mamas who created Leleon Vanua Democratic Party on 18th of May 2018.

“It is sad to see her talking against the wishes of the Mamas of Vanuatu who have experienced that mainstream political parties controlled by men are paying lip service to the concept of gender equality.

“Some women are added to political parties as candidates but they are mere decorations because very few of them are able to win seats to get into Parliament”.

She says it was the Mamas who decided to create their own women’s political party and through LVDP, they are determined to make the necessary change and make it happen.

She continues, “LVDP is an independent institution and does not receive funding from any non-governmental organizations in Vanuatu [as insinuated by Mrs. Ligo] to run its affairs.

It gets its funds through hard work and fundraising activities it has carried out in selling ice-cream at customary and school events; kava juice at the Christmas-in-the-Park and a sausage sizzle. It is an honest political party that works hard to generate its own income and assist its members where it can.

“It is the Vanuatu National Council of Women that receives funding assistance from Oxfam but not the Mamas’ Political Party. LVDP’s fundamental aim is to get 50% of women into Parliament to make a change and stop rampant corruption in Vanuatu.

“A person who just returned from a Feminist Forum in Fiji must recognise the hard work that women are making to achieve their aims of gender equality, instead of discouraging the Mamas”.

The Mamas of Vanuatu are requesting Ligo to put her differences with VNCW aside and to join them to work together to achieve their collective goal of enabling women and marginalized groups to also be part of the decision-making process in Vanuatu’s Parliament.

Speaking from Luganville where she is based, Blessing who chaired the most recent meeting at Mele says, “This is a call to those who wish to make a change for the benefit of women to join the Mamas 2020 on our way forward.

“The majority of women are calling for a balanced representation in Parliament for equal sharing and decision making. We need each other to make this change and stop corruption”.