Women Lawyers Association of Malawi has today petitioned President Peter Mutharika demanding him to increase the number of women in his cabinet and fire Deputy Minister of Homeland Security Charles Mchacha.
The lawyers led by their chairperson Sarai Chisala presented the petition to Chief Secretary to Government Lloyd Muhara at Capital Hill.
Mutharika announced a new 20-member cabinet last week which saw the number of women being reduced to 3 from 4.
According to the lawyers, the number of female ministers matters since cabinet is an important organ of government where decisions affecting the nation are made.
They also argue that Mutharika violated the constitution by only appointing three female ministers.
“The decision to appoint less women Cabinet Ministers is in violation of our Constitution which in Section 13 declares it to be a principle of our national policy to actively promote the welfare and development of our people by pushing for gender equality through the full participation women in all spheres of Malawian society on the basis of equal opportunities with men,” the lawyers say.
In the petition, the lawyers have also faulted Mutharika to for appointing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Regional Governor for the South Mchacha into his cabinet.
They have described the appointment as shocking and disheartening saying Mchacha has been attacking and insulting women at a public rallies.
“His behaviour towards women who are participating in public life as equal members of our democratic nation is extremely disturbing,” the lawyers say.
They further argue that Mchacha appointment undermine efforts to protect women from violence in an effort to encourage more women to run for office and rewards disrespect of women in politics.
“[Mchacha’s appointment] is an affront to decency, morality and contravenes the Constitutional values and national policy principles,” the association says.
The Women Lawyers Association have since called on Mutharika increase the number of women in the cabinet, remove Mchacha from the cabinet for his derogatory language against women and ensure that all future public appointments comply with the law and the spirit of all human rights instruments that Malawi has signed up to.