By Chrissie Mainjeni-Mec Stringer
The National Initiative for Civic Education, Nice Trust in Chiradzulu, has called on political parties to create spaces for women to compete in various positions, as reports show that only three women have shown interest to contest in the forthcoming tripartite elections.
This comes amid efforts by government and various stakeholders, who are fighting for 50:50 women representation in political positions.
The parliamentary aspirants are Alice Kazembe and Susan Kachiwone while the third one aspires to become a Ward Councillor.
In an intereview, NICE District Civic Education Officer for Chiradzulu, Boniface Phiri, attributed the development to lack of interest among political parties to promoting women.
Phiri observed that political parties are not opening enough to accommodate women aspirants, hence women’s withdrawal from the political race.
“We have noted with regret that most parties are not interested to field women aspirants in the 2019 polls. This is quite unfortunate because they are defeating the whole purpose of 50:50 campaign”, he said.
Phiri added that some women are being intimidated by male aspirants, which is making it difficult for them to declare their interest in politics.
However, he said that some women, too, are backtracking voluntarily due lack of financial support as well as low self-esteem.
On this note, he said since May, the Trust has been training women on various skills such as public speaking and proposal writing, so that they should be able to articulate issues as well as sourcing own funds to facilitate their meetings.
“Apart from this, we are also using Multiparty Liaison Committees to relay messages of women participation in politics so that the current number should increase,” he said, adding that traditional and religious leaders too have been targeted with the same message.
He said 50:50 campaign is achievable only if all stakeholders work together to inspire women to join politics.
Meanwhile, Malawi Congress Party and Democratic Progressive Party, District Chairman and District Governor respectively, Dyson Likangala and Joseph Mwapeya Kaliwo, have admitted of the low numbers of women aspirants in their parties.
The two leaders have since pledged to intensify civic education so that women should have a change of heart and come forward.
Chiradzulu has five constituencies and 10 wards.