MESN pushes for law in favour of 50-50 after women flop in Malawi elections

Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) is pushing for a legislation that would mandate the reservation of quarter of seats in parliament for female parliamentarians if the country is to achieve having equal representation in parliament between men and women.

MESN chairperson Steve Duwa told a state radio MBC that he is deeply concerned with low number of women contestants who have won in the just ended elections.

According to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) only 32 women have won parliamentary seats out of 192 seats that were competed for. This is a drop from 43 female parliamentarians who won the seats during 2009 elections.

MESN boss Steven Duwa

MESN boss Steven Duwa

“We need to introduce a legislation that would give women an added advantage over men during elections as is the case with other countries which have achieved the goal of the 50-50 campaign,” said Duwa.

National Coordinator of the NGO Gender Coordinating Network Emma Kaliya had earlier expressed concern over the failure of the initiative to achieve the purpose a development which she said had proved that Malawi is a highly patriarchal society.

However critics had earlier predicted that it was difficult for Malawi to achieve a 50-50 target during last month’s elections after noting that similar initiative failed to yield results in 2009 elections.

A social commentator George Kasawala said in Sunday Times that statistics for 2014 Tripartite Election were painting a gloomy picture for the campaign. He said out of 1,292 people vying for the 193 parliamentary seats, only 257 are women.

“Taking into account that 44 constituencies have no female parliamentary contestants, male candidates have already an edge over women aspirants,” he said.

Meanwhile the 50-50 campaign activists are holding a review meeting in the capital Lilongwe trying to gauge the contributing factors to the ‘dismal performance’ in last month’s race and how best they can forge ahead.

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