With about six months to the May 21 2019 Tripartite Elections, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) resident representative Maria Jose Torress Macho has urged political parties and other electoral stakeholders in the country to put more women in senior political positions.
The UN envoy said in an interview on Monday that the poor representation of women in political leadership positions could derail the country’s development.
Her call comes amid Malawi Electoral Support Network (Mesn) reports that some women, who participated in the ongoing Malawi Congress Party (MCP) primary elections, are considering to pull out of the 2019 elections contest because the political atmosphere is not conducive to them.
Said Macho: “Malawians are going to decide the future of the country next year. We do not know who will win, but it is very important to ensure that the elections reflect the position of Malawians.
“Therefore, participation of women will be considered to be an indicator of what Malawians want.”
Currently, only 32 of the 193 seats in Parliament are occupied by women.
On his part, Mesn chairperson Steven Duwa noted that calls to support women in various political positions have been there for years, but few women occupy leadership positions.
He blamed the situation on lack of coordination among stakeholders promoting women participation in leadership positions.
Duwa said: “Much as we are drawing plans from various partners, at the end of the day we want to improve results in women political representation. There is need for us to coordinate. If you go on the ground you will note that resources are not used effectively. If we had collaborated, we would have reached greater numbers and maximised the outcome.”
He said Mesn launched the Gender Engagement Elections Room (Geer) last Friday to record violent incidences against women aspirants.
Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Principal Secretary Esmie Kainja said women face violence and intimidation which deters them from participating in politics.
She said: “We need to be responding quickly. We need to be on the ground when primaries are taking place so that we resolve that problem.”