Female members of Parliament (MPs) from the Eastern Region have called for support from various donors and organisations for them to serve the people they represent better.
The MPs, including Mary Mpanga, Aisha Mambo-Adams, Esther Jolobala and Lillian Patel, said this in Ntaja, Machinga on Friday when they hosted a group of Oxfam America delegates who were in the country to appreciate the efforts of the 50:50 Elect Her Campaign.
Among other things, they pointed out the need for continued capacity building and also resource support to carry out developmental activities in their constituencies.
Apart from that, they hailed the retention campaign which sought to ensure that all the 32 female MPs of the last cohort of Parliament retained their seats. However, after the May 21 elections, 14 out of the 32 did while 31 are entirely new faces in the Malawi Parliament.
“We have been conducting the 50:50 Campaign, term in and term out but last year’s campaign was different. Oxfam worked with female MPs to retain their positions, which was different from the approach that other NGOs took.
“So, you can see that out of the 32 past female MPs, 14 of us have retained our seats compared with the 2014 elections when only six achieved that feat,” said Jolobala.
She also noted that in politics there are no handovers.
“Once the community has changed its political leader, it becomes very difficult because the new one has to start from scratch while those who retain their seats simply continue from where they left,” said Jolobala.
Oxfam Malawi country director Lingalireni Mihowa said their visit to Machinga East Constituency was part of the post-election support for the Women’s Caucus of Parliament.
“We are very pleased with the 45 women that have made it into Parliament. The donors and officials from Oxfam America were very keen to see what the female parliamentarians are doing and were also keen to meet the people that the female MPs represent, and Jolobala is one of the MPs that has used a gender responsive engagement with her community,” she said.