Jul 25, 2017 Last Updated 2:00 PM, Jul 21, 2017
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Women flop in Malawi elections

Former Malawi leader Joyce Banda is one of the victims in the May 20 general elections Former Malawi leader Joyce Banda is one of the victims in the May 20 general elections
Published in Capital News
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Malawi has registered a drop in the number of women that have made it to Parliament in the 2014 elections compared to the 2009 polls.

The loss of former President Joyce Banda, as People’s Party Presidential candidate, has also shown that women are still lagging behind men putting the 50-50 campaign initiative at the verge of collapse.

This is despite NGO-Gender Coordinating Network (NGO-GCN) carrying out massive campaign promoting the need for women representation and urging the electorate to vote for female candidates.

Official results by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) show that 32 women out of 261 who vied for parliamentary seats won. This is in contrast to 2009 when 43 women were elected as lawmakers in the 193 member house.

Funded by the Norwegian Embassy in Lilongwe, NGO-GCN embarked on the 50-50 campaign to increase the number of female MPs from the previous 43.

A breakdown of Local Government Elections results released by the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) has also shown flop of women in the polls.

The results have shown that of the 457 councilors elected during the last elections, there are only 56 women who have made it and the rest 401 are men.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) got more seats totaling to 165 councilors seats followed by Malawi Congress Party (MCP) which got 131 seats.

NGO-GCN Chairperson Emma Kaliya expressed disappointment with the development saying it is discouraging to see that women are still lagging behind men.

She could not say the real reason for the poor performance by women.

“Malawian voters decided not to vote for women and there is nothing we can do,“ Kaliya was quoted by The Nation newspapers as saying.

“Again, there is high competition these days because people believe that going to Parliament is part of employment.”

Cultural beliefs and political affiliations are some of the reasons contestants and commentators say could have contributed to the poor performance of the female candidates in the just ended elections.

Malawi still ranks as one of the countries with low female representation not only in the SADC region but in the world.

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