Churches Action in Relief and Development (Card) yesterday began a three-day bootcamp in Mulanje for 42 female aspirants.
Card executive director Melton Luhanga said the bootcamp seeks to enhance participants’ interaction and sharing of skills on how to develop their constituencies to competitively participate in the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
He said: “Many women are not part of the leadership and most shun politics but we want them to be encouraged and learn from each other. We want them to advance ideas, manifestos based on issues not attacks and castigations.”
During the meeting, the aspirants raised concerns of violence and acts of chiefs who demand money from aspirants and sometimes take away the right to hold a rally by giving the field to those who give them more.
In his remarks, Mulanje district commissioner Charles Makanga said there is no law that says that chiefs should be given money.
He cited the November 2018 call by Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) to traditional leaders to exercise neutrality and give free space to all politicians to conduct their rallies without hindrance.
Makanga urged the chiefs to relay the MEC message to their village heads.
In her remarks, Mulanje West legislator Patricia Kaliati attributed both issues to poverty which she says fails people in making the right decisions and giving proper advice.
“People will not follow procedures despite the law. The police know what is happening, but don’t do anything,” she said.
Her Mangochi South counterpart, Lillian Patel, said confidence and tolerance among the women aspirants is key, urging the women to stay focused.
She said cases of people demanding money are increasing, but warned the aspirants to observe the Political Parties Act which prohibits handouts during campaign.