Scores of women contesting for membership of Parliament and councillorship in Malawi’s watershed tripartite elections scheduled for 21 May this year, say the 50:50 Management Agency has let them down, alleging that the agency is not providing them with financial resources and other campaign materials ahead of the polls.
The 50:50 Management Agency, which is financing a 50:50 Campaign Project in Malawi, came with pomp and grandeur, vowing to increase the participation of women in politics in a move that highly raised the expectations of women vying for various political positions.
With only about two months to the elections and their seemingly overstretched expectations not being met, most of the contesting women now feel cheated and frustrated.
“If the agency is indeed serious about achieving its goal, it needed to support us with money so we would travel about addressing rallies and bankrolling our campaign strategies.
“Our male counterparts are way ahead of us when it comes to sourcing campaign money and materials,” said Scolastica Chidyaonga, a Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) parliamentary candidate for Lilongwe City South West.
She added, “Marketing the female candidates during the campaign period is very important if we are to make it. We also need branded t-shirts that have our names and faces inscribed on them. And it is not easy to do all these things alone”.
Chidyaonga, backed by many other equally disgruntled fellow contestants, said this in Malawi’s Capital Lilongwe during a capacity building workshop organized by Lilongwe Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP).
Lilongwe CCJP is an implementing partner of the 50:50 Campaign project focussing on capacity building of the female candidates and is being funded by the 50:50 Management Agency.
According to Community Based Educators Supervisor for Lilongwe CCJP Francisco Lidi, the workshop in Lilongwe, which drew participants across Malawi, was aimed at empowering the female candidates with skills of developing attractive manifestos that would make them win.
Mary Sendeza Jaza, an aspiring Councillor for Biwi Ward in Lilongwe, did not also hide her misgivings over the absence of campaign materials, accusing the 50:50 Management Agency of acting like a trickster.
“I am really disappointed. The agency promised that they would give us money for fuel and airtime which they have never fullfilled. And they are also delaying to refund our nomination fees,” complained Sendeza Jaza.
During the workshop, the participants agreed to have a meeting with officials of the 50:50 Management Agency so that they should address their concerns.
Officials from the agency were not immediately available for comment.
But Lidi assured the female candidates that Lilongwe CCJP will submit their concerns to the 50:50 Management Agency so that they are acted upon accordingly.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :