Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10
The picture of Heads of State and Government Summit has caused controversy and raised up a storm on social media. We are almost 20 years into the New Millennium, and with women comprising over 50 percent of the population, we get similar results every time: men out-numbering women in positions of influence and power. So, the picture is not odd, but is quite the norm. Out of 54 countries, there are only two delegates that are female; the rest are men.
Social media is still rearing from the bizarre but life as it is in our societies.
Njoya Tikum says “The ongoing @_African Union extraordinary summit projects optimistic promises. However, this male dominated Heads of States picture captured today (Wednesday), is a reminder of the work that awaits this & future generations. Gender parity at that level is crucial to achieving SDGs and A2063.”
Stella Asani demands that “Africa stop lip service on Gender issues!”
Dami Agunloye gave a counter punch by saying, “Power is not giving but taking. The Women should do the needful to grab power through galvanizing.”
But Tendai Chiweshe advocates that “politics should be about merit who can stand in the wake of criticism. It is women that make up the greatest number of voters. Its up to women to prop their own and up to man to create an environment conducive for women participation effectively; women have the final say.”
Despite the somber opening of my day’s news inject, I was greatly inspired to learn of the nomination of Rosemary Kumitsonyo Kanyuka to the position of Law Commissioner. This has occasioned the need to remind Malawians about three things, as Election Day 2019 draws near. This is especially critical for the top echelons of our country.
The three things are more 50-50 in all decision-making positions; the second is less Mwanza-style atrocities; and the las is to request aspiring leaders, campaigning for our votes, to please smile when they speak to us the electorate.
Malawi, as the rest of Africa, needs to galvanize at grassroots and throw eeight behind support for more women to get into elected offices; women strategise and work together to bring more women to the table.
The secret is out: more women turn out to vote; everywhere. So women, vote for other women.
To the people responsible for making appointments, please consider placing more women to the decion making positions, so that there is a share of responsibilities in running this country.
In the past 24 years since attaining our democratic stature, there have been much musical chairs both in intra-party circles and in civil service. The movement of people from one job to the next, or from the capital to Blantyre or even outside the country. A re-cycling of sorts in the job-hopping saga.
They all, all, the whole lot of them, they are all men!
What’s happening to the women who fall from jobs? They become either vendors, farmers, or relegated to caring for grand babies.
This discrepancy highlights the discrimination, gender imbalance, intolerance and an absolute misogynistic nature that is present in our land. In the coming government, we should not see the paltry three ministers in a 20-cabinet executive branch. Additionally, when making non-political nominations, such as the Law Commissioner, the folks making those nominations, must consider qualified women.
Please Mr. President, just as you continue to re-cycle men, also re-cycle women. Every time you side-step a woman and fail to re-cycle her, you are denying the country from achieving the Sustainable development Goals (SDGs) in the same way we failed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Three weeks ago, Member of Parliament Patricia Kaliati escaped by the skin of her teeth, a car accident. Many Malawians were reminded of the numerous road accidents that were norm during the one-party rule of Dr. Banda.
Kaliati’s accident came on the heels of cabinet reshuffle. And social media connected the two incidents. Such acts as conjured-up car accidents are intimidatory, acts of barbarism, and they must stop now. These near-death accidents will make us fail the litmus test of our democracy.
This is another drama that must change, it must be cut off from our midst.
We thank God Kaliati escaped unhurt.
Lastly, this is a clarion call to all politicians campaigning for office. There is so much television and a lot of You-Tubing going on. This means that people around Malawi can now see political figure heads. Sadly, all politicians are behaving as if they are still talking on radio.
Let me tell a secret to all the political aspirants: You’re live on camera and you can be seen by everybody, including your opponents.
This is true of all political figures; ordinary Malawians are taking video clips and posting them on You-Tube and Twitter.
Let me tell another secret to all the political aspirants: Smile.
Yes, please smile as you go around, campaigning, asking for our votes.
And please stop yelling at us, we the electorate are sick and tired of your “angry bird” repertoire. We are annoyed that after the country voted NO to one party government, in this democracy leaders find it ok to include in the diet for the people a menu replete with angry insults of their opponents, yelling, and contorting their faces to cause fear of their “enemies.”
Politicians on the campaign trail must stop the “angry bird” drama. This is because the audience in front of you, are your prospective voters; you want them to vote for you; you need their votes. So please don’t shout; smile! Don’t insult your opponents; talk of your development plans. Don’t talk about the past (it’s GONE); talk to us about Malawi’s future, how you will stop bleeding of our resources, corruption in high places, shortage of medicines, increased salaries for civil servants, especially teacher, improved infrastructure, less power shortage and electricity blackouts.
On Election Day 2019, I will remember the smiling candidate. I will remember the soft-spoken candidate, the one who did not yell at the electorate. I remember being treated with respect by the candidate.
All other candidates, smile please.
Malawi politicians, you should never forget, “you work for us – the electorate.”
DON’T SHOUT! SMILE!