Are you contesting in any of the seats for Parliament or council wards? Are you a woman? Then this article is for you.
If I remember correctly, certainly for all of my life, Queen Elizabeth II has been the Head of the United Kingdom (formerly Great Britain); she is head of the fourth largest intergovernmental organisation (after the UN with 193 member States; Group of 77 and China, 157 member States; African Union, 54 member States; and the Commonwealth, 53 member States).
She has done a great job being at the helm of her country’s government and the intergovernmental grouping-winning one major war (Falklands), partaking in several other joint battles in the Middle East and others. She has also enjoyed the loyalty of 11 prime ministers, two of whom happened to be women. She also happens to be the longest serving monarch, with no waning popularity locally or globally.
When a picture of the G-20 leaders with the scanty presence of women in leadership roles was released last December it was disappointing to me. It has been over 20 years since the Beijing Platform for Action was etched in China, and the drama about women leadership is akin to dancing in the mud on a rainy day two steps forward, five steps back.
Women, where are we going? Why aren’t we getting there? Do we have a game plan?
The one cardinal rule that women should realise is that no one on this planet will give you the coveted elected office on a silver platter, unless you are born into royalty. Power must be taken, grabbed, or wrestled out of the hands of those that hold it.
Thus, the response to the first question is, of course, we are going toward elected positions in the presidency, Parliament, or council seats. In the second response, in many cases, women are fighting the wrong enemy, have pinpointed the wrong enemy, or women are inadvertently leaving behind the good supporters that could be their destiny helpers that would goad them into those elected positions.
This brings me to the third question’s response. What is the strategy to get into elected positions? Are women scouring all the bases, even if it means seeking help from unlikely support?
It is a known and proven fact that globally more women turn out to vote on election day. On that day, the women, men and youth are respectively alone in the booth; it is assumed they vote their consciences.
What is the game plan to get this (predominantly majority population) to vote for you, a woman candidate?
Game Plan 1: Enlist district level Support Point Persona that will assist in mobilising the district support base.
Game Plan 2: Get statistics in that area, find the issues that affect this woman you are wooing, speak to those issues. Is it access to healthcare, clean water, education, HIV, child marriages, teenage pregnancies, high taxes, violence against women and sexual harassment? Once you know the challenges facing your prospective voter, ask her how she might assist you once elected to office.
Game Plan 3: Rave up the woman’s card. This is a powerful base, with plenty of check marks on the list in Game Plan 2.
Game Plan 4: Get off your high heeled shoes and walk into every woman’s home and ask her for your vote; in other words, speak to the woman. Hold extensive fund-raising drives, using the women Support Point Persona.
Game Plan 5: Unless someone can prove me wrong, women’s issues affect all women. Women aspiring for political office, should make every woman in their areas/constituencies, their friend; convince the women that a woman in public office will personally represent women, highlight their issues and work to lift standards of women in Malawi. In an election year, women running for office, must aspire to get every vote from every woman and every gender-sensitised man.
Game Plan 6: Women contestants should avoid bei ng a megaphone highlighting the negatives of other women contenders. This is like campaigning for the rival. Just speak about you.
Game Plan 7: Put a big heaping of faith in your God in all you do. Attend church, mosque or other religious beliefs you hold. The faithful always support each other. Make it a point to fellowship with your fellow believers.
L o n g l i ve genuine democracy!