By Elliness Mbowe and Vincent Bwinga
The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese on 31st August, 2018 conducted a training workshop for women aspirants from different political parties and independent candidate in Karonga District in preparation for 2019 tripartite elections.
The training sought to increase women’s chances of winning in the forthcoming elections against the background of poor representation of women in political positions. For instance, Karonga District has only one female councillor out of 10 ward councilors. There is also no female Member of Parliament in the area under Karonga Diocese.
This state of affairs has been attributed to women’s limited understanding of political tactics, intricacies of political parties they represent. Despite the Gender Equality Act and other instruments, there is lack of deliberate measures by government or political parties to promote the participation of women in politics.
The training, therefore, focused on assisting women aspirants on mobilizing resources for campaign, effective campaign strategies, presentation skills, self-marketing during campaign. The women were also assisted to understand the electoral cycle of the country.
This instilled confidence, and self-reliance among women as they are approaching campaign period for 2019 May tripartite elections.
Speaking during the training, Tamala Mujilembe from Khwaba Ward who is representing DEPECO said the training has motivated them to continue with an idea of representing their wards at the council.
“We are being discouraged by men in our villages that we can’t represent them. With this training we are motivated and empowered that we are all equal. We are not going to be discouraged by all insults. We will remain focused until we achieve our goal,” Said Tamala.
Tamala Mujilembe further commended Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga for the training which was organized with funding from UN Women under the Malawi Electoral Cycle Support project. She expressed optimism that they will succeed in the forthcoming elections.
The women aspirants bemoaned the handout syndrome, which is deeply rooted in their communities, as a big threat for them to succeed in the upcoming elections. They have since requested more support from the Justice and Peace Desk for them to withstand the pressure of elections.
Fifteen out of twenty one women aspirants scouted attended the training. Twenty are aspiring councilors while one is vying for the seat of Member of Parliament for Nyungwe Constituency. These women were scouted from Area Development Committees, political parties, chiefs and women meetings.