Office of President and Cabinet (OPC) has responded to the petition delivered a month ago by Women Lawyers Association who asked President Peter Mutharika to rescind the appointment into Cabinet of Charles Mchacha, the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regional governor for the South for purportedly demeaning women participating in public affairs and holding a different political view.
Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) Lloyd Muhara defended Mchacha, saying he does not slut-shame women and that his remarks at a political rally were taken out of context.
Muhara in the response dated December 6 2018 argues that Mchacha was talking about “two women” and not women of Malawi in general.
He said: “The two women were found to be going about insulting the Head of State at public rallies. He was, therefore, simply deploring this type of conduct, which you would also agree is not acceptable.”
On the call to increase the number of females in his Cabinet and parastatal boards after the President reduced women representation in his 21-member team from four tothree in recent Cabinet reshuffle, Muhara said government has a number of institutions comprising ministries, departments and agencies where more women have been deployed to keypositions.
“If truth be told, the incumbent President, Professor ArthurPeter Mutharika, has appointed more women to strategic positions in the public service than any other president in the history of Malawi,” said Muhara.
The women described as worrying a trend that fewer women are being appointed as Cabinet ministers or heads of boards for State-owned enterprises and accused Mutharika of violating the Constitution by sidelining women.
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Henry Mussa, the official government spokesperson, also said government said people should not only look at Cabinet representation as there are many institutions headedby women.
“There is need to look at things outside the box because when we talk about 50:50 campaign, it is not just about Cabinet only,” he said.
The women lawyers further stressed that the Gender EqualityAct of 2013 strengthens the need to promote gender equality, equal integration, influence, empowerment, dignity and opportunities for men and women in all functions of society.