DPP, UTM lead on female candidates
By Watipaso Mzungu, Contributor:
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has featured the largest number of women, followed by UTM, in the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections.
On the other hand, Lilongwe has featured the highest percentage of female candidates standing for parliamentary office at 35 percent, followed by Ntchisi (33.3 percent) and Dedza (31.1 percent).
This is a c cording to a gendered analysis of the Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) 2019 Presidential and Parliamentary statistics.
The analysis was conducted by NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN).
The majority of the female candidates are, however, standing on independent tickets.
“Political party backing is the most significant factor for female candidates and the absence of such backing can disturb one’s chances of being elected into office. For instance, only three of the 23 constituencies in Lilongwe have a female candidate on an MCP [Malawi Congress Party] ticket; in Kasungu, only one of the nine constituencies has a female candidate on MCP ticket; in Mzimba, only two of the 12 constituencies have a female candidate standing on MCP ticket while in Nsanje, there is no woman standing for office under the MCP ticket,” reads the analysis in part.
Interestingly, of the 33 constituencies in the Northern Region, only two have women standing on MCP ticket.
In Chitipa, Karonga, Nkhata Bay, Likoma, Mzuzu and Rumphi, there is no female candidate standing on a MCP ticket while UTM and DPP have fielded an average of one female candidate in these districts.
Among the parties currently represented in Parliament, People’s Party (PP) is the most progressive as regards inclusion of women in politics and decision-making, the analysis says.
“The party has a female presidential candidate and has the highest number of women standing on a party ticket. [At least] 30.8 percent of the candidates for PP are women compared to 26.5 percent for DPP, 22.5 percent for UTM, and 15.3 percent for MCP. This is an indication that having women as political party leaders can contribute to many women participating in politics and decision-making,” it says.
Most of the women are contesting as independent candidates. At least 123 of the 304 women contesting for parliamentary office are independents.
NGO-GCN Network Coordinator, Innocent Hauya, said in an interview on Tuesday that the increased number of women standing for presidential and parliamentary office in 2019 is a progressive result in achieving increased participation of women in politics and decision-making.
However, Hauya said learning from voting trends and considering that a lot of the women in 2019 are competing on an independent ticket, the success rate of the women standing for parliamentary office is likely to remain unchanged.
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