Women’s Manifesto Movement has applauded President Lazarus Chakwera for appointing six female High Court judges among 12 appointees, saying the act inspires confidence.
In separate interviews yesterday, Women’s Manifesto Movement leaders Barbara Banda and Maggie Kathewera- Banda, who led women’s demonstrations against the President for appointing few women into parastatal boards on October 9, said Chakwera had demonstrated to be a listening leader by appointing an equal number of men and women to the High Court of Malawi bench.
The President also promoted High Court Judge Ivy Kamanga to the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal alongside three male judges—Healey Potani, John Katsala and Charles Mkandawire.
Banda, who is also Non- Governmental Organisations (NGO)– Gender Coordination Network chairperson, said: “We made our concerns when the board appointments were made and we can see now that there is a change of direction.
“So, this is the day that we want to commend the President and salute him for complying with Gender Equality Act.”
Echoing her sentiments, Kathewera-Banda said the Women’s Manifesto Movement was over the moon because it has been advocating for increased inclusion of women in high public offices.
The Gender Equality Act provides for 40-60 representation of either sex in appointments to public office.
On its part, 50-50 Campaign Management Agency also applauded Chakwera and the Tonse Alliance administration for upholding the Gender Equality Act.
In a statement issued yesterday and signed by team leader Viwemi Chavula, the agency said the appointment of the seven female judges had revived its faith and hope that the Tonse Alliance administration will ensure that women are key partners in decision-making at all levels. Chavula, the agency said the
Reads the statement in part: “We also applaud the Judicial Service Commission for the recommendations they made. The well gender balanced appointment of the High Court Judges demonstrates your Excellency’s [Chakwera] political will and willingness to listen and respect all voices in line with the Tonse philosophy.”
In a separate interview y e s t e r d a y, g ender and governance consultant Wezi Moyo commended Chakwera and described him as “a listening President”.
She appealed to Chakwera to continue complying with the Gender Equality Act to ensure that more women take part in decision-making.
Said Moyo: “Women protested, but some of us said let’s give him the benefit of the doubt since that was the first time. And yes, he has
proved himself and has adhered to the Gender Equality Act.”
But while commending the President for complying with the law, governance and political commentator Humphrey Mvula said Malawians should not just look at the quantity of gender representation but the quality.
He said: “These positions demand that people appointed have requisite training and education plus experience. So, we are still on the highway going towards achieving gender parity, but it’s a two-way process where those appointing should know more individuals available.”
Minister of Information Gospel Kazako, who is the official government spokesperson, said the Tonse Alliance administration is committed to empowering women.
He said: “President Lazarus Chakwera is addicted to the habit of keeping his word. We are serious on women empowerment. It is a process, not an event. This is why we asked the women of this country to be patient and give their government time to ensure we work together to galvanise this process that is meant to last for generations.”