As the hype towards the 2019 tripartite elections slowly heats up, political parties in the country are being implored to take deliberate steps that would ensure gender sensitivity during the holding of party conventions, during which party executive committees are elected.
This comes against a background of concern by the public and other stakeholders over the decimal participation of women in political and development affairs, evidenced by the low number of Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, councillors and female executive members of political parties.
The Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and the United Democratic Front (UDF) have since pledged to promote equal opportunity and women participation in their political parties ahead of the 2019 general elections.
This follows a plea from the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare asking political parties to develop minimum standards that will enable women to freely participate in politics.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, MCP Acting Secretary General Eisenhower Mkaka said the gender agenda is not new in the party as the party’s constitution provides for equal participation of women and the youth.
“We would want to go a step further by providing a quarter in the constitution because the provision says much as it supports women, it does not say to what extent does the party support women. So as we go to convention, we will present that idea so that the convention can make a deliberate decision on women participation. That said, women need to show interestin taking positions otherwise we cannot go out there to force them to take the positions,” he said.
United Democratic Front – (UDF) spokesperson Ken Ndanga said they are always in support of any initiative that seeks to increase the number of women in decision making positions not only in political parties but also in other sectors.
“As a party we will create a conducive environment to ensure that women are able to work and not hampered by any conditions. However, we will not do that at the expense of merit because these positions cannot be shared just like that because these people need to deliver.
Those who will elect them in those positions have their own expectations, so in the end, we need leaders who will deliver,” Ndanga said.
In a statement signed by the Principal Secretary in the ministry of Gender, Children,
Disability and Social Welfare that was issued on Thursday, the ministry further said the call comes at a time when political parties are hyped up for the general elections.
“This comes against a background of concern by the public and other stakeholders over the decimal participation of women in political and development affairs, evidenced by the low number of Cabinet ministers, Members of Parliament, councillors and female executive members
of political parties,” reads the statement.
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