12 March 2019

Malawi: 'No Money No Vote' Community Tells Contesting Candidates

Karonga — The battle towards achieving 50:50 campaign for female aspirants in the May 21 Tripartite Elections seems not to be an easy ride in Karonga as communities of Mwenilondo in Karonga District continue to ask for handouts for them to vote.

The community members expressed their sentiments Thursday at Mwenilondo during a 50:50 campaign meeting which was organised byFoundation for Community Support Services (FOCUS) and attended by faith leaders and traditional leaders.

The meeting aimed at drumming up supportfor female aspiring candidates who are to contest for different political parties' positions during the forth coming elections.

However, when FOCUS paraded female aspirants while lobbying the electorate to support and vote for them, the majority of the women at the meeting shoutedopenly saying a candidate who does not give them money would never be voted for.

One of the women, Catherine Msowoya alluded to the sentiments saying people in the area are used to be given money for them to vote as they feel cheated by candidates who tend to leave the area after being voted into power.

"People are used to be given money for them to vote for someone, they say they have to be paid money before they make their decision to vote, but the truth is that we have to consider voting for women so that we reduce the gap between male and female political representatives in different forums," she said.

United Transformation Movement Party, parliamentary aspiring candidate for Karonga Central, Florence Nthakomwa said it was very unfortunate when the women are carried by money on the expense of voting for fellow women.

FOCUS Director of Partnership and Investment, James Sichali said it is more unfortunate as even traditional leaders are in the forefront demanding allowances for attending 50:50 awareness campaigns.

FOCUS with funding from 50:50 Management Agency, through Action Aid is mobilizing support for 50:50 representations in the National Assembly and Local Government. Karonga district has 22 female aspirants.

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