North Malawi female candidates to get 50:50 campaign funds by Tuesday

The 50:50 Campaign Management Agency who are implementing a Project  on the 50:50 Campaign for more women in leadership positions has assured female candidates in the May 21 Tripartite Elections from the Northern region  that they will all receive their share of the allotted donor funds and materials to assist in their campaigns by Tuesday next week.

Chimgwede ( second from right) with AWOME Members

Communications Specialist  at the Agency Wisdom Chimgwede said this at Mzuzu Hotel in  Mzuzu on Friday during an networking meeting with Association for Women in Media (AWOME)  aimed at  increasing positive coverage of female politicians.

Chimgwede explained that contrary to fears by some quarters that  the some of  the  funds  have been  misappropriated  by the Agency resulting in  a  delay  in  giving out the money to female candidates, the disbursement of the funds has in fact been delayed by female  candidates themselves after they gave the Agency incorrect bank details.

According  to Chimgwede,  most of the candidates across the Country have now  been paid  a situation which has freed the  Agency to commence the disbursements of cash and cloth to female candidates in the North just under a month to the Elections.

“We could have loved to finish off  in this process but  a lot of candidates when the call went out  did  send us wrong details. Some sent us details not corresponding with the names  on the bank accounts, some sent us details of inactive accounts,  so all that has kind of delayed us.

“A good part of Central Region is already done, a good part of Central region is done. By next week Tuesday, everybody would have gotten their share of those things. Some think that  people sitting at the campaign management agency might have used the money that was made for candidates for their own personal benefits, we don’t even touch those finances, they are with the UN and in the  Agency’s account,” Chimgwede said.

For this Election, all female aspirants are slated to receive a package comprising; a  cash starter pack of  nomination fee refunds of MK 250, 000 for Parliamentary Candidates and MK 20,000 for councilors as well as communications support valued at   MK 80, 000 for the aspiring MPs  and  about MK 34,500 for transport for councilors and about MK 12 000 for communication support for councilors among other  related financial support and mentorship.

Female Parliamentary candidates are also receiving  4.5 rolls of cloth while the shadow councilors are getting  1 roll of cloth  courtesy of funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the UN Agencies.

Chimgwede, however, lamented a lack of financial preparedness  by some of the candidates who  expected that the  Agency  would fund  all their campaign costs.

“We are emphasizing preparedness. We must emphasize to the public and to  candidates that what 50:50  Campaign is providing is an auxiliary service which cannot even compliment  even 50% of a person’s campaign budget. The 85% still goes back  to preparedness on the part of candidates, ” Chimgwede said.

In her remarks, Mandy Pondani, the Regional Representative for AWOME  who is also Bureau Chief for Times Group in Mzuzu urged female journalists in the Region to ensure that they report truthfully on the 50:50 Campaign so that more women are enabled to benefit from the Campaign.

“ Now that we have known the truth about the Management of the 50:50 Campaign Project, let us make sure that we report the truth and that we profile more young women  in our reporting so that we can have more  young women  from the North in the political space come 2024,”  Pondani said.

Over 300 women are expected to contest as MPs while 600 are vying for councilor positions in next month’s Tripartite Elections. Meanwhile only one female candidate is contesting as MP is Mzuzu City.

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