Mzuzu City Constituency’s only elected female Councilor Judith Chiume has commended the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) for reducing nomination fees that women wishing to contest as Members of Parliament and Councilors will be paying by 50 percent.
Chiume who is Councilor for Msongwe Ward said this in an interview in Mzuzu on Wednesday in reaction to MEC’s discount on the nomination fees.
“We are very grateful to the Electoral Commission for slashing nomination fees for women. K 250, 000 is still a lot of money but it is a welcome move. Definitely this will go a long way in enabling women who are willing to contest in the elections,” Chiume said.
Chiume also advised women aspirants in the forthcoming tripartite elections to plan their journey ahead in order to increase their chances of winning.
“Those who are seeing their fellow women in positions in politics, it takes planning. We need focused nation-builders. The bottom line is planning. You have to start planning now. You cannot decide all of a sudden to contest in elections,” Chiume said.
The Msongwe Ward Councilor urged future Governments to create more jobs to empower women so that the nation sees a situation where more women are able to source the finances to contest in political positions.
MEC announced in July that it had set new nomination fee structures to promote aspiring women, youth and the disabled candidates to contest in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
According to MEC, women aspiring to contest in Parliamentary Elections will be expected to pay K 250, 000 while their male counterparts will cough MK 500, 000. For Local Government Elections, the nomination fee for met is pegged at 40, 000 while women will only pay K 20, 000.
However, Peter Mumba the Governance Coordinator of Mzuzu Civil Society Network, has questioned the relevance of nomination fees reduction saying that the move only serves to further underscore gender inequality.
“I take it as a very unfortunately thing that we are failing to level the playing fields for both men and women. Girls and boys, female and male have been taught that they are equal so by just reducing the fee for women, it is qualifying that they are not equal,” said Mumba.
But at a recent press conference held in Blantyre , the MEC Chairperson Dr Jane Ansah explained, in detail, that MEC reduced the nomination fees for women to affirm its commitment to supporting women , the youth and people with disabilities in fulfilling their desire and right to participate in the elections.
Meanwhile, MEC is currently winding up Phase Four of the voter registration exercise in Ntcheu, Blantyre, Blantyre City, Mwanza and Chikhwawa Districts in the run-up to the 2019 Tripartite Election.