The NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO GCN) has advised women aspirants to practice issue based politics during campaigning for the 2019 polls.
The human rights group has observed that castigating political opponents was one of the factors preventing women from doing well in elections.
Chairperson for NGO GCN, Emma Kaliya said this during a Multiparty Liaison Committee (MPLC) meeting on 50:50 campaign held in Dowa on Friday.
She said despite other challenges faced by women such as lack of political will by political parties and cultural perceptions that hinder women participation in politics, women themselves need to stop politics of castigation, saying this does not bring positive results.
“You sometimes get surprised to see that instead of telling the people what they will do when elected; some women are busy castigating political opponents. Women need to stop that kind of politicking since it’s not what people want to hear,” she said.
Kaliya said her organization had noted with concern the dwindling numbers of women representation in elected key decision making positions such as Parliamentarians and Councilors.
She said the number of women in decision making positions has been going down which she said was a worrisome development.
“We had 22 women elected as Members of Parliament in the 2004 General Elections and 43 women won in 2009 but the number went down in 2014 with only 32 women winning parliamentary seats.
“This defeats the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Protocol which our government signed in support of the 50:50 representation of women in key decision making positions,” said Kaliya.
On challenges the 50:50 Campaign was facing, Kaliya said managing constituencies and Wards with more than one female candidate was a setback since it is difficult to convince other women to withdraw as that may be viewed as infringing on others’ rights.
In his remarks, Dowa District Commissioner (DC), Alex Mdooko appealed to political players to exercise tolerance despite having different political ideologies and affiliations.
The NGO GNC is implementing a Project called Capacity Enhancement and Addressing Negative Social Norms with the aim of increasing women representation in the 2019 elections, targeting constituencies with female aspirants and candidates in Dowa and Ntchisi Districts.