Muslim female MP in Malawi vows change: Ex-Radio Islam journo

A year after she was elected as the  female Muslim MP in Malawi parliament, Aisha Mambo has vowed to use her new role to advocate for a larger representation of Muslim women in the country.

Aisha Mambo has vowed to help other Muslim women take a seat in parliament

Aisha Mambo has vowed to help other Muslim women take a seat in parliament

She is a member of parliament for United Democratic Front (UDF).

“All along, I have always aspired to become a parliamentarian. Therefore, to make it to the National Assembly was a dream come a true for me,” said Mambo according to an article in onislam.net.

“I have always wanted to be among those people who make laws of the country, that I should be able to advocate for laws which are women-friendly and at the same time to help and empower fellow Muslim women through the laws which are made there,” she added.

Her first goal of winning a seat was realised in June 2014 in Mangochi Mkungulu. Previously a journalist for Radio Islam, Mambo was among 20 other Muslims who made it to the National Assembly.

“I went to parliament with a mission to emancipate fellow women from the palms of poverty and backwardness. It pains me to see that after 51 years of independence, the number of Muslim women actively participating in politics is very low,” Mambo said.

“I came here to advocate for laws which could help to reverse this trend where possible, so that Women could be fully empowered to stand up and lead among men,” she added.

The 40-year-old legislator observed that some of the major obstacles holding back Muslim women from actively participating in politics included lack of education and prevailing poverty levels.

“Due to cultural factors, most Muslim women have not attained basic education. This has made it difficult for them to participate in politics, and at the same time, a lot of women in the Muslim Communities are not fully empowered economically to stand on their own and try their luck in politics. Politics requires a lot of money, therefore most of them cannot dare to engage themselves in it,” she said.

Religious and Cultural Barriers

The Mangochi Mkungulu district lies in the Muslim dominated region of the south, the parliamentarian who wears the Muslim head covering called hijab, observed that some sectors in Muslim community in the country used religion and culture to prevent women from taking part in politics and assuming leadership roles.

“But this is wrong. In religious activities, we can’t lead, but in politics, we can lead. There is nothing to stop us from assuming leadership roles. We have to lead and fight against societal challenges which are affecting our development in various aspects,” she said.

“During my meetings with people, including traditional leaders, I’m educating them to realize that there should be a line dividing politics and religion. Some men are hiding behind religion to bar women from leadership roles. I am therefore reaching out to them with this message. Time has come that we need to try our luck in leadership and governance.

“The Muslim community has accepted me and embraced me as a role model who can help change mindset and break the cultural barriers. I have taken advantage of this responsibility to reach out various groups of people to encourage women to come forward and lead.

”Of course, there is resistance in some circles, but slowly we’ll be able to get there. I am sensitizing girls on the need to get good education and aim high in life,” she stressed.

Having said, that she also explained that a good education while sufficient, the stereotyping women politicians are subjected to was another battle that had to be overcome.

“Women politicians in Malawi are associated with all sorts of bad things and are called names like prostitutes. This has discouraged some women with sound education from becoming politicians. This is a challenge that we have to fight against if our societies are to attain any meaningful development,” Mambo said.

“[The] time has come that we should be given a chance to lead in society. There is nothing forbidden about women becoming politicians. Some men are busy scheming to make the political landscape hard for a Muslim woman. We are being perceived as second class citizens.”

Outlining her time in the National Assembly, Mambo said she had been accorded the much needed support.

“It’s pleasing to note that I have been able to settle down. I’m getting necessary support from both male and female legislators. The onus is on me to prove to men that I have what it takes to deliver,” she said.

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Clement Chiwoko
Guest

Dear Madam
Nobody has held muslim women back other than your religion itself and the muslim men. If you want to emancipate muslim women you need to emancipate them from the religion and from the men. Secondly I would advise you to go on the path of emancipating all MALAWI women rather than just choosing women of one religion. This makes you sound very intolerant of other religions.

Brazilian wax
Guest
At 29 you are right to say that Islam and Yao are two different things. Likewise one would rightly say terrorism and Islam are two different terms. But the undeniable fact is, most Moslems in Malawi are Yao people and again most terrorists in the world are Moslems. Now for the rest of the argument the matter would be on the principle of association. The principle of association rests on the premise that when two things are very much associated with each other whether by way of number or frequency then those two things must have something in common.
guardsman
Guest

Keep it up sister. Chisilamu ndi chiyawo are two different things. from the comments i’ve read,umbuli kumalawi ukanalipo ndithu.

George phiri
Guest

You dont need muslim mps? Does she want to turn malawi to an islamic state? What stupid commments from ignorant, filthy, pig meat, boroxy, sochimpula human beings. Madala wake up from your slamber and see blue as blue and not blues as red. We cant all be muslims just as we cant all be christians or jews or hindus or bhudist or ethiest. Lets respect other peoples choices. Make funny, freindly and nice comments and not provocative ones.

kesterkalonga
Guest

Mp sananene za mitala spa koma miltala ukunenayo aposilotoli ndi amitala amagwirisa baibulo.kawerenge baibulo ukaipeza mitala.

bamusi
Guest

Keep it up sister. We are proud of you.

Brazilian wax
Guest
Sounds a bundle of contradiction. Your religion doesn’t allow women to be leaders but then you assert that in politics you can do the contrary. That’s confusing. I thought the whole idea of trying to separate women from men is, in Islamic doctrine, that women invokes the want of sin in men? This sounds double standards. You are changing goal posts madam. In Saud Arabia girls and boys in school don’t share classroom. My foot! Madam you are lucky you were born in a country where the dominant religion does not hold extreme religious views otherwise you would not have… Read more »
Patriot
Guest

kikikikihahahaha
Change? Kodi achawa amalimbikira za Agenda for Change bwanji?
The last time I heard this was one Atupele Muluzi who ended up campaigning for DPP and has now completely joined DPP.
Anyway look what attire the woman is wearing, she is DPP.
Uzamva “walayi” ili bodza kkkkkk paja kubisa boza amangoti “walayi”.

Mwethu
Guest

I think all she is saying is that she is the only muslim woman MP proud enough to showcase herself in her religious regalia, the others you are mentioning I doubt very much if they are serious moslems. That’s where her arguments come in that because the moslem men want the women to be subservient most participate in politics without showing freely that they are politics. The Pillanes and others just look like normal everyday women and not moslem practicing ladies.

Matipi
Guest

I am not regretting for Muslims not participating in politics in southern Africa including Malawi, and I am therefore proud that my religion didn’t contribute to poverty that Malawians are facing today. Go ahead with your Christianity principles and make laws that will allow gay rights.

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