By Jordan Simeon-Phiri, MEC Stringer
Pan African Civic Educators Network (Pace-net), in conjunction with Youth and Society (YAS) have taken the equal representation campaign to traditional leaders as one way of drumming up support for women aspirants in the run up to May 21 Tripartite elections.
The two civil society organizations (CSOs) Saturday took the campaign to Tilola and Nyungwe primary schools in the area of Senior Chiefs Wasambo and Mwilangombe respectively in Karonga District where they engaged chiefs, members of the clergy and area development leaders on the equal representation campaign.
Speaking on behalf of Senior Chief Wasambo at Tilola School where the two CSOs held its first activity to drum up support for an independent aspiring Member of Parliament for Karonga Nyungwe Lucy Mkandawire, Principal group village headman Chauteka said much as chiefs are apolitical, they have a role to play in making sure that the equal representation battle is won.
“As chief, we always support the government of the day and during elections we do not side with any particular candidate,” Chauteka said. “But for the sake of promoting female candidates we can help in a small way regardless of their party colours.
“That is why we have welcomed this project and we will closely work together to achieve this feat.”
YAS’ gender and human rights officer, Mwandida Theu they are targeting this group of people because of the influence they have over people in society.
“Chiefs are custodians of culture while members of the clergy and area development leaders also interact with people at grass root level by sharingbnotes and spreading the message about the importance of voting women in elective positions during the forth coming elections,” Theu said.
Taking her turn, communications officer for Pace-Net Patricia Njatula urged women to sieze this opportunity and support the initiative so that Malawi should produce more female seats during the 2019 elections, both at local government and Parliamentary level.
“I urge women to love one another and be agents of this same message. Let us unite and promote our fellow women so that we achieve the 50:50 representation being advocated for,” Njatula said.
“Peoples Party (PP) aspiring ward Councillor for Nyungwe Ward Esther Ndovie hailed the two CSOs efforts of taking the messages to traditional leaders who will spread the message to the people.
Pace-Net with funding from UN Women is implementing the project in Salima, Mangochi, Mulanje, Dedza, Mzimba and Karonga districts.