Malawi Women Organise Demo Against Chakwera Over Gender Imbalance

Lazarus Chakwera, Malawi's new president.
8 October 2020

The Women Manifesto Movement, comprising various women empowerment civil society organisations (CSOs) are organising a nationwide protest this Friday against President Lazarus Chakwera's failure to fulfil the Gender Equality Act (GEA) requirement of 60:40 representation of either sex in public appointments.

According to a notice on the demonstrations, women in Blantyre plan to march from the Old Town Hall through Chipembere Highway to Kamuzu Stadium, while in Lilongwe they will march from Kamuzu Central Hospital roundabout to the Parliament buildings.

In Mzuzu, the demonstrations will start from Katoto Secondary school ground to the Mzuzu City Council.

In all areas the demonstrations are expected to start from 10am to 1pm.

Chairperson for the NGO Gender Coordination Network, Barbara Banda , who is one of the organisers for the protests, said the aim is for Malawi women "to make a stand against systemic discrimination in public appointments."

Banda said they want to raise awareness, encourage dialogue and see change in the appointment of women in public positions.

"Our ultimate objective is that we get heard. We want it clearly known that we are no happy," she said.

The appointments by President Chakwera announced in a statement signed by the Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Zangazanga Chikhosi, showed that only nine of the over 60 boards most of them education institutions are chaired by women.

On Monday during a special weekly briefing at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe, Chakwera said he will achieve the gender valance during his term as it will be a step by step approach.

But he ruffled feathers of women when he claimed there are few women who are well-qualified challenging the activists to furnish him with curriculum vitae and directory of qualified women to make such appointments.

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