The 50-50 campaign management agency says a record number of women have won primary elections in Mwanza and Neno.
At a review meeting for Neno and Mwanza, it was revealed that the two districts have broken the record for the number of female candidates to win primary elections during the same election period.
The review meeting which was held on Tuesday at Ligowe Epicenter Conference Hall in Neno, brought together women aspirants, chiefs and other elections stakeholders from the two districts with the aim of reviewing the whole program where it has done well and other areas that need improvement.
According to monitoring and evaluation Manager of 50-50 campaign management agency Chawezi Tembo, out of the 26 women who participated in various party primaries, 11 emerged victorious.
Eight other women are expected to stand on independent tickets in the two districts.
Tembo said the number of women who have collected nomination papers for councillorship office is also the highest ever, with Neno recording 10 women while in Mwanza there are four women.
He said this time as Malawi is going into the crucial period of campaign they will use religious leaders and chiefs as main outlet for 50-50 campaign messages saying they already have well mobilized grouping of people for the agency to meet the community with the information.
Tembo then applauded Ligowe Community Development Organization (LIKODO) a local organization that was sub-contracted by the Management Agency to implement 50-50 campaign in Neno and Mwanza for achieving most targets in the first quarter of the program.
However, some women aspirants raised the concern during the meeting that they are still facing a number of barriers from their political party’s leadership because most of the party leaders at the constituency level are not fully aware of the program and they face resistance to accept them to attend 50-50 campaign meetings with the fear that they may reveal some secrets to their competitors.
For instance, Magret Sundu who is standing as councilor on DPP ticket for Khuze ward in Mwanza central, told the gathering that her campaign directors from DPP told her that they are not happy seeing her attending meetings together with other women candidates from other political parties in the name of 50-50 campaign because some women are main competitors to her fellow DPP male candidates.
UTM candidate for Neno North Joyce Kachale urged them management agency to involve men aspirants as well into the program saying there are limitations to the effectiveness of the program if men aspirants are not engaged.
“If we don’t involve men in this 50-50 campaign then men’s attitudes towards women, will remain the same, and in many cases can bring about increased dangers to women,” said Kachale.
“Men aspirant should be part of the program. When they are involved they will be well aware that it is not a competition but just a need to remove that stereotypes and cultural beliefs that perceive women as the ones who should sorely remain in the home,” she added.
Neno and Mwanza have two constituencies and four wards each.