President Lazarus Chakwera will not reconstitute parastatal boards which have been blamed to be not compliant with the Gender Equality Act, State House director of communications Sean Kampondeni and government spokesman Gospel Kazako have said.
The Gender Equality Act stipulates appointment of not less than 40 percent and not more than 60 percent of either sex in public service, but out of the 54 completely filled boards, 11 representing 20.37 percent complies with the law.
Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) chairperson Barbara Banda, who has declined a position in the board of Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocation Authority (Teveta) said by failure to abide by the Gender Equality Act, the Chakwera appointments were illegal and sends bad signals.
The Malawi Law Society has concurred with NGO-GCN, saying only 20.37 percent comply with Section 11 of the Gender Equality Act.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Defender Coalition (HRDC), Youth and Society, Women Lawyers Association and NGO-GCN have since given government seven days to reconstitute the non-compliant boards or face court action.
In a letter dated September 27 2020 addressed to Secretary to President and Cabinet, Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi, signed by lawyer Wesley Mwafulirwa, the civil society organisations argue that the appointments violate both local and international instruments.
“All the non-complying boards be reconstituted within seven days from the date herein. Most importantly, the next appointments of the non-complying boards should comply with their specific enabling laws as well as the Constitution as read with the Gender Equality Act,” reads the letter from CSOs
However, Minister of Information Kazako, who is the official government spokesperson, said while government appreciates the concerns, it cannot operate on ultimatums but dialogue.
“We can’t run a nation using ultimatums. They can go to court and do whatever they can do which is legal but probably they could gave engaged us so that we also tell them some of the things,” said Kazako.
At a weekly briefings organised by State House, President Chakwera’s spin doctor Kampondeni said more women will be incorporated in the boards based in their positions in various organisations and government.
“You will notice that in the 29 page list that had the boards, there were two types of boards. Others are regulated by pieces of legislations and those legislations require the representation of certain organisations. Many would have noted that some boards did not have names of persons. They just mentioned institutions [ex-official] without mentioning the names of individuals,” he said.
He said the institutions are yet to choose their representation which likely will be more women.
“Names are yet to be submitted by relevant institutions for inclusion in the boards to the President for approval.
“We don’t know the gender if the names who those relevant institutions will submit to the President for approval,” said Kampondeni.
Parastatals that do not have female representation include Malawi Accountants Board, Roads Fund Administration, Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi, Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority, Roads Authority, Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority and Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation.
During campaign for the court-ordered June 23 Fresh Presidential Election; Chakwera pledged that his administration will ensure at least 40 percent women representation in appointments to public institutions.
However, Chakwere reneged on this when he appointed a 31-member Cabinet with 12 women, representing 38 percent.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :