United Nations (UN) resident coordinator Mia Seppo has said female candidates need to remain confident to win in May’s Tripartite Elections. She said all stakeholders, including parties and the electorate have a responsibility to support female candidates.
Speaking during the 50-50 campaign stakeholders meeting last Friday in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, Seppo said all people win when women win, adding the UN is implementing a four-year programme on political empowerment of women in Malawi to ensure more women participate in decision making positions.
“The UN role in Malawi is to support the government of Malawi in national priorities as outlined in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) within which gender equality and women empowerment are key areas. This is a UN agenda, [AU] African Union (AU) and Sadc agenda. This is our shared agenda,” said Seppo.
She said the UN is pleased that the 50-50 campaign in Malawi has registered some progress in the past elections by increasing women representation in Parliament, saying they expect the nine percent and 22 percent of women representation achieved in 2000 Local Government Elections and 2009 Parliamentary Elections, respectively to increase to 50 percent each.
“The progress made up to now throughout the past three elections is quite amazing and needs to be celebrated. Malawi is doing well and needs to keep doing even better. The standards are high in Africa after Rwanda elections last year positioning more than 60 percent of women in Parliament,” said Seppo.
NGO Gender Coordination Network (NGO-GCN) chairperson Emma Kaliya said the 50-50 campaign is not a new phenomenon, saying the campaign is coming from various legal instruments like the country’s Gender Equality Act, Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development, and the African Union Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa.
“As such, it remains our responsibility to make sure that the implementation of such instruments is fully adhered to. It again remains our responsibility to ensure we have meaningful and quality representation and participation of women in politics at all political levels.