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CSOs petition UN on Cabinet

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By Faith Kamtambe:

(left to right) Mayaya, Mtambo and Trapence

Some civil society organisations (CSOs) Thursday delivered a petition to United Nations (UN) Women offices in Lilongwe, demanding that President Peter Mutharika should be stripped off his He-for-She champion title, claiming that he is not committed to promoting women into top positions in the country.

Coalition for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) and activist Billy Mayaya delivered the petition in view of Mutharika’s appointment of just three women to the latest Cabinet.

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The UN Headquarters appointed Mutharika as Global He-for-She Impact champion, following his commitment to gender equality and women empowerment.

Mutharika on Wednesday announced changes to his 20-member Cabinet, with Jean Kalilani (Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development), Grace Chiumia (Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development) and Cecilia Chazama (Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare) as the only females.

HRDC Vice-Chairperson, Gift Trapence, said it is not the first time that Mutharika has appointed a few women to the Cabinet.

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“He has only been appointing males; a good example being current ministerial appointments. There are only three women out of the 20 ministers and this is not the first time that we have seen him doing so.

“We have written the authority that appointed the President to be a He-For-She champion because we want the organisation to strip off that appointment because the President is not complying with the laws of gender equality in terms of appointing women,” he said.

There was no immediate comment from the UN Women office that champions the campaign in Malawi.

State House Press Secretary, Mgeme Kalilani, Thursday insisted that Mutharika is committed to promoting women.

“There is no leader at presidential level who has appointed more women to high positions that Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika. The President will continue on this path and he will not be distracted by personal hate driven opinions from individuals hiding behind civil society to be advancing their political agenda against him,” Kalilani said.

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