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‘Women subjected to violence in politics’

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By Faith Kamtambe:

The Ministry of Gender has received reports of violence, including verbal intimidation, targeting female candidates in ongoing primary elections.

Malawi Congress Party and Democratic Progressive Party are the only parties that have been conducting primary elections.

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Although she could not come out clear on the number of cases received, Ministry of Gender Principal Secretary, Esmie Kainja, told journalists at a meeting Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) organised that most women candidates are being intimidated during primaries.

“There were a few women that were abused during the ongoing primaries. Women face mostly verbal intimidation. We have also noted, in the current primaries, that men gang up and announce results just to make the woman who has been abused feel intimidated. These are real issues that have been reported,” she said.

Resident Coordinator of the United Nations and Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme, Maria Jose Torres, has since said even though it is hard to achieve the 50:50 campaign, the Malawi government should create an enabling environment for women in the political arena.

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“It is very difficult in all countries to achieve the 50:50 campaign. I think there are a few countries, including Sweden and Norway, that have managed [to do that] but I think we need to realise that this is not a business-as-usual thing and, as such, there is more to be done,” she said.

Mesn Chairperson, Steve Duwa, said his organisation has established a platform where cases of violence will be reported and acted upon.

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