Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) vice president (Southern Region), Kondwani Nankhumwa on Saturday, September 21 2019 held a meeting with Southern Region top women leaders of the governing party at his private Luchenza Residence in Thyolo.
A women leaders' representative thanks Nankhumwa for the interface opportunity
VP Nankhumwa addresses district and constituency governesses at his Luchenza Residence on Saturday One of women DPP leaders speaking at the meeting DPP women leaders in the southern region holding meeting with party vice president Nankhumwa poses for a group photo with the women leaders Some of the womne who attended the meeting
The leaders comprised constituency and district governesses drawn from all 54 constituencies and DPP's 25 political districts, including Neno, Mwanza, Chikwawa, Nsanje and Phalombe.
Nankhumwa said women are an integral part of the DPP and ought to be encouraged to actively participate in core party politics and be part of "the shapers of the future of the country".
He said: "We're what we are-the ruling DPP-because of you, women. Women have carried us on their back to take us to where we now. In the May 21 tripartite elections, women massively turned out to vote and I know for sure that the DPP and His Excellency President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika won the elections because many women voted for us".
Nankhumwa said President Mutharika has always said that women have a special place in his heart because of the immense role and contribute not only in the social and economic development of our country but also in the development of local politics.
"My message today to these women leaders was that the President has not departed from that position and that he shall always respect women in this country," said Nankhumwa in an interview after the meeting, adding that this why President Mutharika "continues to appoint more women in top and strategic management in government and parastatals".
Nankhumwa, however, noted that despite the political will and commitment to uplift women into leadership and decision-making positions, many women suffer from the lack of self-confidence and massive inferiority complex towards men.
"We discuss politics, naturally, but I also encouraged them to be proactive and fight for higher leadership positions in the party instead of just being 'passengers'. They have to look at us, men, as their equals, whom they can compete with for any position in politics and elsewhere.
"Most of them have daughters; I asked them to encourage their daughters to work had in school so that they can become important women leaders in the future," said the VP South.
Nankhumwa said according to UN Women, women still lag behind in terms of occupying important and strategic positions in politics in spite of the enormous contribution they make towards political parties' formation and growth, especially in Africa.
He said a recent UN Women report suggests that only 24.3 percent of all national parliamentarians were women as of February 2019, a slow increase from 11.3 percent in 1995.
"As of June 2019, 11 women are serving as Head of State and 12 are serving as Head of Government; Rwanda has the highest number of women parliamentarians worldwide, where, women have won 61.3 per cent of seats in the lower house; and globally, there are 27 States in which women account for less than 10 per cent of parliamentarians in single or lower houses, as of February 2019, including 3 chambers with no women at all.
"These statistics are not good at all; we need to take drastic measures and bold decisions to ensure that more women become MPs and take up other important decision-making decisions at political party and national levels," he said.
Nankhumwa, who is also Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, said he paid gratitude to the DPP women leaders and their respective committees for solidly remaining behind President Mutharika and DPP, which is evidenced by the party's outstanding performance in the region in the May 21, 2019 tripartite elections.
Bertha Nachuma, who is DPP Director of Women in the region, led the women leaders at the meeting.