NGO asks political parties to start preparing women for 2019 tripartite election

Government, Gender, Justice and Development Centre (GGJDC) has asked major political parties operating in the country to start preparing women for the 2019 Tripartite election to ensure that more women get voted into power.

Executive Director for GGJDC Ruth Manda made the call Thursday during a one-day meeting with representatives of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), United Democratic Front (UDF), Malawi Congress Party (MCP), People’s Party (PP), and Alliance For Democracy (Aford) held in Lilongwe.

“Malawi adopted several international legal instruments; it also has laws such as the Gender Equality Act of 2013, and Sections 13 and 20 of the Constitution which promote women participation in national development.” She said.

Manda said Government together with non state actors have run campaigns which aimed at increasing women’s presence in public and political leadership with little success.

The Executive Director said t is for this reason that GGJDC is making this plea to all parties and various stakeholders.

Manda said since 1994 when Malawi held its first multiparty elections, the performance of women in elections has been fluctuating between 8 and 22 per cent mainly due to low support that women get from their parties and other stakeholders outside the campaign period.

“Our analysis shows that for the situation to change from the current 11.2 per cent women representation to 30 per cent in the 2019 tripartite elections, political parties need to establish nurseries where female aspirants can be prepared to be successful politicians. This has to start now so that by the time the campaign period is open, more women should be ready to take up the challenge,” she said.

UDF’s central region secretary Innocent Masache requested for the proposed mass civic education to help people understand that women can perform even better than men in leadership position and also for women to support each other regardless of their party affiliations.

“There is need for civic education that goes beyond campaign period to change people’s mindset including that of women themselves that women can make good leaders as per example of Germany and Liberia. Our women also need to be united in things that affect them as women in South Africa do, if they are to take up leadership positions,” he said.

Aford National Executive Committee member responsible for youth affairs, Emma Chidakwali said the issue suggested an introduction of a joint fund by all political parties which would help fund female politicians when the need arises.

“I would propose a fund based on the Village Savings and Loans model commonly called banki m’nkhonde where political parties can contribute money which can be accessed by female politicians at an interest rate that is slightly below the market value. This would help women fund their campaigns and increase their success rate in elections,” she suggested.

GGJDC is implementing a four year Women Empowered for Leadership Programme (WE4L) with Euros 52500 funding from Humanist Institute for Development (Hivos) in Lilongwe, Kasungu, Mchinji and Nkhotakota

Source: Malawi News Agency – MANA