The 50:50 Campaign Management Agency says it has engaged 116 pro bono lawyers nationwide to represent female candidates in grievances related to the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
The agency’s team leader Viwemi Chavula said this in Blantyre yesterday when they engaged Association for Women in Media (Awome) journalists as part of the two organisations’ partnership towards the promotion of women political candidates.
Chavula said women are facing a lot of challenges such as harassment and intimidation which are making it difficult for them to equally compete with men.
He said the coming in of the lawyers is an assurance of improved access to justice on the part of the women candidates, most of whom cannot afford legal representation due to financial challenges.
According to Chavula, during the primary elections, they recorded 30 cases of administration of the polls and handling of results for female candidates out of which only two reached the court.
“But judgement was not satisfactory as they were told to go back to their parties and exhaust all avenues employed by the parties on conflict management, this never worked for the already disadvantaged women,” he said.
Chavula described the partnership with Awome as crucial in achieving the values of the 50:50 campaign through improved visibility of female candidates and all issues surrounding them.
In her remarks, Awome acting president Edyth Kambalame, who is also deputy editor for The Nation, said the women journalists grouping values its partnership with the 50:50 Campaign Management Agency, adding Awome exists to champion the cause of women and girls in the media, among other things.
She encouraged the participants to utilise the agency as a resource in promoting women’s participation in politics for the nation’s benefit, saying the gender equality fight should be a continuous process.
Said Kambalame: “Women’s leadership matters to Awome as much as it does to the 50:50 Campaign Management Agency. Research has shown that when given a chance, women can move mountains.
“The number of women in the Malawi Parliament, Cabinet and other leadership positions remains low. Let us use our role in media to foster positive change by reporting stories that will propel more women to leadership positions.”
The 50:50 Campaign Malawi seeks to increase representation of women in leadership positions in key institutions such as political parties, Cabinet and Parliament.