President Joyce Banda has been asked to take a leading role to support female aspirants vying for parliamentary seats in the forthcoming tripartite elections slated for May 20 this year.
The call was made by Patricia Kaliati, a former Minister of Information and Civic Education in the late Bingu wa Mutharika’s government and now Director of Women in opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) .
Kaliati, who has held a parliamentary seat for Mulanje West Constituency since 1999 said this as she addressed journalists in Mulanje on Tuesday.
She observed that during the 2009 polls, with Mutharika at the helm, 42 women were voted into the 191-member National Assembly, thus it was expected to see the figure rising since Malawi was now ruled by a female.
“Under Mutharika’s leadership we managed to get 42 female MPs, so as a woman we expect her [President Banda] to make efforts and support female aspirants,” said Kaliati.
“We expect her to take a leading role to empower more women as we push for the increase in number of female Parliamentarians,” added Kaliati, who is a member of the Malawi Women’s Parliamentary Caucus.
She said the DPP regime took deliberate effort on the affirmative action to ensure that there was higher women’s representation in Parliament after the 2009 parliamentary elections.
According to Kaliati, there was also enormous support from the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus that had direct donor funding.
“What is happening now is that donors are working directly with government but the government is not supportive enough, that’s why the Caucus has been inactive.
“We hope they [government] will not be biased. Previously the campaign was a success because we did not look at political affiliations and every candidate had equal support,” claimed Kaliati.
The Parliamentarian also asked the Centre for Multiparty Democracy to come in and help because if nothing will be done, few women will be voted into Parliament on May 20.
Kaliati however advised female hopefuls to be strong as they aspire to make it to Parliament, saying: “They need to be strong at all levels. They will face a lot of challenges but they need to stand in their shoes.”
Speaking further, she said women should desist from the “pull her down syndrome” and join hands in support of the affirmative action to increase the representation of women in Parliament.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, female aspirants are not doing well in the ongoing primary polls which political parties are conducting in preparation for the forthcoming elections.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :