Source: Malawi News Agency
By Daniel Nyanjagha

Mulanje — Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD) has called on political party leaders to support women aspirants in order to help such candidates attain elective leadership positions.

Speaking in Mulanje on Wednesday during a meeting for aspiring candidates for parliamentary and local government seats and chiefs, Programme Officer for CMD, Deborah Mitawa asked the leaders to level the playing field for both women and men.

She said it was high time that barriers hindering women from participating in politics were removed.

"Let's stop violence against women in politics and give them an equal opportunity just as we give to men. If we look at the 2014 elections, it is worrisome to note that in Mulanje, only three MPs and three women Councillors made it," Mitawa pointed out.

The Programme Officer asked communities to desist from using abusive language towards women and urged political leaders not to alienate women when providing campaign material support if the country is to achieve the 50:50 campaign.

"Women aspirants are complaining of abusive language subjected towards them and also that political parties give more campaign materials to men as compared to women. The tendency should stop," Mitawa said.

One of the women aspirants Ebbie Mathanda, who once served as legislator for Mulanje Pasani Constituency from 2004 to 2009 bemoaned inadequate support from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), which she said, are not interested in addressing the challenges women aspirants were facing at the grass roots.

"NGOs in governance in the district should go on the ground and see what is happening. Not only giving us information in a classroom but they should be able to monitor what is happening and the challenges women were facing," she observed.

In the forthcoming May 21 Tripartite Elections, 22 women have showed interest to contest for positions of ward councillor positions, five more than in the previous elections.

About 15 women will stand for parliamentary seats, one more than in 2014 Tripartite Elections.

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