Women who contested in May 21 local government polls in Neno have told Women’s Legal Resource Centre (Wolrec) that they will not partner the 50:50 Campaign Management Agency in 2024.
One of the women, Gloria Mchona, who contested in Ligowe Ward, said, among others, the agency failed to honour promises it made to female aspirants in the district.
She said most of them received their nomination and transport refunds in June when the election was conducted in May.
“We have not given up. We will contest again in 2024, but when it comes to women political empowerment, we have asked Wolrec officials to help us look for other partners not 50:50 Campaign Management Agency because they contributed to our failure in the elections,” said Mchona.
She said the one roll of cloth the agency gave them decampaigned them as most of their supporters, who did not receive a cloth, opted for their opponents.
Meanwhile, the female candidates also accused some chiefs of decampaigning candidates who failed to give them handouts.
Lignet Thupilifana, who contested in Chilim’bondo Ward, said some chiefs in her area openly demanded money and organised parallel meetings to decampaign her when she failed to give the chiefs what they had asked for.
“For several times after conducting rallies and leaving without giving the chiefs money, the moment I left some chiefs organised a parallel meeting and asked their subjects not to vote for us, saying it was unheard of in their culture to call chiefs to a meeting and not give them any money which they call a ‘thank you’,” she said.
Commenting on the issue, 50:50 Campaign Management Agency communications specialist Wisdom Chimgwede said the delay in disbursing money to the female candidates was due to some of them provided incorrect bank details.
Wolrec project officer for Young Women in Active Politics (YwAP) Evance Phiri said they will decide what to do to avoid a repeat of what happened.
He said the project seeks to groom and prepare young women to take up leadership positions in political parties and also contest in the 2024 parliamentary and local government elections.
Meanwhile, Wolrec has established four YwAP groups in Traditional Authority Mlauli and Senior Chief Dambe to champion the campaign.
The project, which is expected to end in December 2020 and is being funded by DanChurch Aid, is being implemented in Neno and Nsanje in the South; Dowa and Ntchisi in the Centre and Mzimba and Rumphi in the North.
The 50 50 Campaign failed to produce a winner in Neno in the May 2019 Tripartite Elections as no female candidate was elected in local government or parliamentary polls.
However, the district produced one female legislator in the 2014 Tripartite Elections. Forty-five women were elected to Parliament in the May 21 Tripartite Elections up from 32 who made it to the august House in 2014. Fifty nine women councillors were elected out of 460 wards.