27 November 2018

Malawi: CCJP Calls for Support for Female Candidates in 2019 Elections

Lilongwe, November 27. Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in the Archdiocese of Lilongwe has called upon political parties that have not yet conducted their primary elections to support women aspirants in order to have more women in political leadership positions.

CCJP is one of the organizations that have been given grants to implement the 50 - 50 campaign by the Management Agency to promote women participation in politics.

The idea of the campaign is to have equal participation of men and women in political leadership and ensure more women compete for councilor and parliamentary seats in the next year's tripartite elections.

However, in an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana), Field Officer for CCJP, Richard Kussein, said this can only be realized if political leaderships, especially in political parties that have not yet conducted primary elections can support capable women aspirants.

"One of the gaps that we have seen is that there is limited support from the political party leadership to allow for a fair platform for women.

"So through this program, we are engaging political leaders so that they provide a better platform for women to equally participate in political leadership," Kussein told Mana.

He said the situation indicates that women are still being under-represented in political leadership.

"This can be attributed to the patriarchal society that we are in and the social norms that have put women on submissive roles, a thing we need to change," he said.

Kussein said political parties that have not yet conducted their primaries should be able to support capable women who have showed interest in competing for various leaderships.

"We are aware that the Malawi Congress Party has already done elections except for some few areas which had some anomalies, but we are lobbying with those parties that have not done the primary elections so that they create equal space for men and women.

"And also, maybe, make some provisions specifically targeting constraints that affect women participation in political leadership," said Kussein.

Commenting on the same, Democratic Progressive Party Vice Chairperson for Lilongwe City South West Constituency, Enith Kumichongwe, said it is high time women are given a chance to lead, saying they are the ones who know many of the challenges people face at both domestic and community level.

"This is one the reasons parties should support women who have the potential to lead. I also call upon women who have interest to contest to believe in themselves," she said.

Recently, CCJP in Lilongwe conducted field visits in constituencies that are fielding female candidates to raise awareness and advocacy and also hold meetings with various political parties as part of the campaign.

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