First Deputy Speaker of Malawi Parliament Mrs Mcheka Chilenje Nkhoma has advocated for quota system for electing women in Parliament as the only key to increase the number of women representation.
The deputy speaker was addressing the United Nations Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva Switzerland on Sunday (12 October 2014) where she is the leader of Malawi’s delegation of seven Members Parliament and officials.
Chilenje Nkhoma wore a brave face and revealed that most Malawian women have no financial muscle to compete with male politicians.
“Therefore, Madam Chairperson, affirmative action, and quota system in Malawi should be prerequisites if we are to eradicate some of the challenges facing women in Malawi,” said Mcheka Nkhoma.
Chilenje Nkhoma reiterated on behalf of delegates that Malawian women are still fighting for the 50/50 representation in decision making positions.
Mcheka Nkhoma said Malawi do not practice affirmative action and instead the country uses first past the post electoral system when it comes to electing members of parliament.
She said out of 193 strong house only 32 women have made it into parliament the in the last Tripartite Elections.
Nkhoma said that Malawi has 3 women as cabinet ministers in the government out of 20 ministers .
The deputy speaker said although parliament women caucus group strive to champion issues that concern women, male parliamentarians are also so supportiv.
“For example, Malawi parliament managed to pass bill on gender based violence and other bills concerning women so let me emphasise that we need a strong political will to support women because research so far has found that Constituencies which have women representation find that most of social basic needs such as water, roads, food and shelter are addressed,” said Mcheka
Chilenje revealed to the UN that there are several factors which contribute for the low representation in Parliament saying that low women education levels is a major problem in Malawi saying
“52 % of the population in Malawi are women but the women remain the least educated and this puts them at a great disadvantages politically and the electoral system of first past the post does not seem to favour women,” said Mcheka Nkhoma.
According to Mcheka Nkhoma, culturally, the Malawi society in general does not accept political leadership of women.
Another challenge according to s Mcheka Nkhoma that women faces during the elections is that most women do not have the economic muscle to favourably compete with men during political campaigns.
In the 1994 to 1999 first democratic parliament there were only 9 women MPS out of 177 MPs (5%) that was during Dr Bakili Muluzi regime and in 1999 to 2004, Parliament had 14 women MPS out of 193 MPS representing only 7% while in 2004 to 2009 that was during Bingu wa Mutharika regime, Malawi Parliament had only 26 women MPs representing 13% and in 2009 to 2014 the Malawi Parliament had 43 women MPS representing 22% and lastly in the 2014 to 2019 only 32 women have made it to the House representing 16%.
On Monday the First Deputy speaker made another Paper presentation in the General Assembly in the IPU Conference on the achieving Equality ending violence against women.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :