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Japan tips Malawi on tripartite elections

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By Macdonald Thom:

Japan Ambassador to Malawi, Kae Yanagisawa, has said the success of next year’s tripartite elections in Malawi would depend on collaboration of stakeholders.

Yanagisawa, who expressed satisfaction with the way Malawi Electoral Commission (Mec) has conducted voter registration, however, said she was looking forward to the implementation of Political Parties Bill, which Parliament passed last year.

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“These are important steps towards fair and transparent elections. It is my strong belief that the success of the elections depends on all stakeholders, including political parties, media, electoral commission and the voters, all of who I urge to assume full responsibility,” Yanagisawa said.

She spoke in Lilongwe on Thursday during a reception marking the 85th birthday of Emperor Akihito of Japan.

The ambassador also said she hopes that strategies and policies which Malawi has launched this year, would stay effective even after the elections.

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Yanagisawa also urged all political parties to provide a level play field for women aspirants.

“I believe that, by having more women leaders, a society would be inclusive, peaceful and free from bias. I also believe that first and foremost, the task of women politicians is to work for the promotion of the rights and empowerment of women,” she said.

Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Henry Mussa, said the government was doing a lot on issues of women empowerment.

“A lot is happening. We have women holding high positions in the government. Maybe we are not speaking a lot on what is happening. The President [Peter Muntharika] has appointed women to high positions. The private sector should do the same,” Mussa said.

Mussa also hailed the support which Malawi gets from the Japanese government since the diplomatic relations between the two countries started in 1964.

Emperor Akihito’s birthday reception in Lilongwe was the last, as the emperor will be abdicating the throne on April 30 2019. Crown prince Naruhito will be enthroned on May 1 2019.

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