By Jordan Simeon-Phiri, MEC Stringer
Presentation of nomination papers for the May 21 Tripartite Election ended on Friday and in Karonga, 22 female were registered for the posts of Members of Parliament and Ward Councillors.
The number of female aspirants which is said to be the highest in the history of elections in the lakeshore district, is attributed to three civil society organizations (CSOs) rigorous campaign for equal representation in this race since June last year.
At close of of business on Friday, 5 female aspirants had submitted their Parliamentary forms while 17 women were for Local Government seats with two going as independent MPs and four as independent Councillors.
Moses Mwakisalu, project officer for Malawi Electoral Cycle Support (MECS) at Justice and Peace (JP) of Karonga Diocese, a CSO that is drumming up support for female representation in the district with financial support from UN Women, said he was extremely excited with the women’s enthusiasm, describing it as a breakthrough for Karonga.
Mwakisalu said the determination that the 22 female aspirants have shown indicates that they are ready to take up the challenge of facing men head on in leadership roles.
“We will continue rendering our support. We will continue mentoring them by providing capacity building and how they can sell their manifestos to the community at a cost effective way,” Mwakisalu said.
He further said that it is his prayer that all the 22 female aspirants should qualify after MEC scrutinizes their documents during the seven days it (MEC) set so that the number should not be trimmed.
Pan African Civic Educators Network (PACENET), in conjunction with Youth and Society (YAS), are ather organizations that are working in the same district on equal representation campaign have congratulated all the female aspirants.
PACENET executive director Steve Duwa said the 2019 tripartite elections are a litmus test not only in Karonga but Malawi in general that will weigh people’s mindset towards women in society.
Duwa said his organization will do all it can to source financial support from donors to enable these women achieve their goals of serving Malawians in elective positions.
“We are overwhelmed with this development and we are ready to support these female aspirants by going on the ground and woo support from leaders, women and youths.
“We will take the campaign to their respective areas so that the community should know the importance of voting for women who, together with youths are in large numbers in Malawi,” Duwa said.
A satisfied Robert Silungwe, project coordinator for Karonga based Foundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS), said the development is good for the district, which currently has one female Councillor out of 10 and not a single female MP representing one of the five constituencies.
Silungwe said so far, there were 32 female MPs in the august House out of 193 seats and 56 Councillors out of 461 Wards across Malawi.