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Female candidates complain of abuse

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By Yohane Symon:

Female candidates for the May 21 Tripartite Elections have urged the authorities to punish male candidates who use abusive language towards the women during campaign rallies.

In addition, some of the female candidates complained that some male candidates are still giving out handouts to registered voters although the electoral laws outlawed the practice.

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The Daily Times interviewed the female candidates on the sidelines of political rallies which the 50/50 Management Agency organised to offer the women a platform to sell their manifestos to the electorate.

Malawi Congress Party parliamentary aspirant for Mangochi South, Margret Asipolo Ziba, complained that some of her male counterparts attack her verbally.

“This is a concern to us because as women, we are being told to focus on issue-based campaign, yet our male competitors are having the freedom to insult us. Now the challenge is that if we don’t insult them back, we are being viewed as weak personalities, something which can cost us votes,” she said.

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She, therefore, appealed to the officials who are managing the 50/50 campaign to lodge an official complaint to Malawi Electoral Commission so that the malpractice can end.

Democratic Progressive Party aspiring councillor for Mwasa Ward, Lyna Bridget Teddie, bemoaned the tendency by some male candidates who distribute handouts.

“Instead of the law working to our advantage, it is disadvantaging us. At the moment, men have an advantage because they are still giving the people handouts,” she said.

In his reaction, 50/50 Management Agency Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Chawezi Tembo, said it was worrisome that some candidates castigate their competitors during political rallies.

Tembo said the 50/50 campaign has engaged lawyers to help female candidates whenever their rights have been infringed upon during campaign.

“What is important is for the women to produce evidence which can help in prosecuting such matters. On handouts, we will try to engage traditional leaders to enlighten them about the law that prohibits handouts. We believe that chiefs can play a big role to make sure that the practice is stopped,” he said.

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