Women aspiring for parliamentary and local government positions in Mangochi say they want to meet the 50-50 campaign donor to lobby for nomination fees support in the forthcoming elections.
The aspirants raised the issue on Friday during a one-day training organized by 50-50 Campaign Management Agency to build the capacity of the aspiring women as they take to the podium soon to battle it out with their male counterparts.
The issue broke when the women noted that unlike May 2014 elections, some critical aspects of their political fight to win in the May 2019 polls were not taken on board this time.
“We really appreciate all the support that our donors, civil society organizations and public sectors are giving us but we feel that the most crucial areas have not been tackled,” explained Mangochi DPP aspiring candidate for Mangochi Central, Victoria Kingston.
“We expected to hear that the support that we will get will also include nomination fees and party T-shirts or clothes because those are our main challenges,” she added.
More aspirants concurred with Kingston, saying during the 2014 fifty-fifty campaign, the aspirants got their nomination fees paid for and they also had t-shirts made for them.
The women appealed to the 50-50 Campaign Agency to initiate a meeting between the aspirants and the donor, Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA), to lobby for the nomination fee support.
The 50-50 Campaign Management Agency, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Chawezi Tembo, explained that the proposal that was agreed on between the agency and the donor, ICEIDA did not reflect the outlined demands.
“The funds that ICEIDA made available for Mangochi women aspirants are not for party or individual direct funding, but to support activities that will promote every aspirant’s campaign towards 2019 elections,” explained Tembo.
However, he said he would convey the message to ICEIDA for consideration but he urged the women to seize the support available at the moment and run with it.
According to Tembo, ICEIDA pumped K37 million into the 50:50 campaign through the 50-50 Campaign Agency Management to support women contestants in Mangochi for the forthcoming elections.
The Agency has since mobilized the three community radios in Mangochi, Dzimwe, Umoyo and Lilanguka and all media houses represented in the district, civil society and faith based organizations, and chiefs to support the 50-50 campaign.
So far, 53 women have shown interest in contesting for local government and parliamentary seats and, according to Tembo, there is hope this time that Mangochi will see more women making it to their aspired positions.
Mangochi has 34 ward councilors and out of these, only one is a woman while out of the 12 parliamentarians the district has only two are women.