Associating a region with a political party is said to be the major reason why most women failed to win ward councilor elections in Kasungu.
This was disclosed during a meeting which Governance, Gender and Justice Development Centre (GGJDC) held on Wednesday with women leaders from political parties, faith and the business community to highlight problems women face for them to fail to take up leadership positions.
According to women who contested as ward councilors but failed, it was because the party tickets they contested for were not popular in the district since there is a tendency of associating the region (central) with Malawi Congress Party (MCP).
Agnes Nyirenda who contested in Mpasadzi ward on United Democratic Front (UDF) said she was told point blank by people that her party was from the south.
“I knew I had all the capabilities of leading the people as a councilor but I had no chance because my party was not popular in the region as people said the region belonged to MCP,” said Nyirenda.
Echoing Nyirenda’s sentiments, Mary Kazombo who contested on Peoples Party ticket in Kavunguti ward said she lost because of the choice of her party which was not favoured against MCP which is believed to be synonymous with the central region.
“I felt I was the strongest candidate but I was competing with a fellow woman who was from MCP so she had an advantage if we consider the issue of associating regions to party,” said Kazombo.
However, most women felt that if the element of associating parties to regions is removed and consider the capabilities, most women could be elected in political positions.
Through Women Empowerment 4 Leadership (WE4L) project which is being supported by HIVOS, GGJDC wanted to find out problems that women face that hinder them from taking up leadership positions.
Hastings Kalima, GGJDC district coordinator said women have had a lot of challenges that have seen many of them fail to challenge men.
“We want to identify women who have potential, give them support in time, build their capacity and enhance their confidence so that in 2019 we have a reasonable number of women contesting and winning as councilors,” said Kalima.
Mayor for Kasungu Municipality, Ireen Katola encouraged women to believe in themselves and not be intimidated by men or political parties.
“We are all created equal and we are all capable. If we can remove the issue of voting because of a party not the person’s capabilities we will have more women in politics,” she said.
GGJDC wants to support women in the districts of Kasungu, Nkhotakota, Mchinji and Lilongwe who have aspirations of contesting in 2019 elections at sub-national level.-MANA