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‘Respect women if you want our vote’

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

Civil society organisations (CSOs) and gender activists have said they will not vote for political parties and leaders who cannot take a clear stand against violence in politics.

The human rights activists made their stance through a petition which they delivered to Lilongwe District Commissioner (DC) Lawford Palani Tuesday after embarking on a march, from Crossroads Hotel roundabout, aimed at protesting escalating cases of politically motivated violence targeting women and opposition party followers.

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Governing Democratic Progressive Party Cadets are among those linked with the attacks.

Police have arrested some suspects in Mangochi District in connection with the stripping half-naked of a UTM female follower as she was travelling to the party’s rally in the district.

In view of this, women from various political parties and CSOs attended the march, which ended with GCN Gender Coordinator, Barbra Banda, delivering the petition to the DC.

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Banda said they were dissatisfied with how issues of political violence are being handled by stakeholders.

“A political party and a political leader that cannot take a clear stand on violence in politics does not deserve our votes and we are ready to take drastic measures if our demands are not met,” Banda said.

Speaking after receiving the petition, Palani, said: “We will definitely deliver it to the relevant authorities.”

Last week, the CSOs held a press conference where they condemned incidents of violence.

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