Foundation for community support services (FOCUS) says lessons learnt during the five day of 50 50 campaign and awareness marathon in the five constituencies of Karonga have thickened up their plans in the run up to May 21 general elections.
This was revealed Tuesday at group village Mwangolera in the area of paramount Chief Kyungu when FOCUS held its last activity of lobbying traditional and church leaders to amplify awareness campaign messages on the importance of voting for female candidates during the forthcoming polls.
FOCUS director of partnership and investments James Sichali said it is unfortunate that traditional leaders who are supposed to lead by example and take the message back to their subjects and help in mindset change for handouts and money during various political activities were in the forefront demanding allowances for attending such awareness campaign meetings.
Sichali, however, was optimistic that despite all that, the intended results were attained as they reached out to all the 22 female shadow Ward Councillors and Members of Parliament in all the five constituencies.
“Despite some challenges such as monetary demand from some traditional leaders, we have had very successful campaign through drama and some music. We hope we have driven the message home and by now people know why they should vote for women,” Sichali said.
Sichali further said that next activities will be designed for the electorates and will be aimed at changing people’s mindset over dangers of receiving handouts and money during campaign in exchange with votes.
Speaking on behalf of all traditional leaders, senior group village headman Mwangolera said he and his fellow traditional leaders are ready to support women in the May 21 elections for a change.
“I would like to assure FOCUS that we will do the needful by lobbying our subjects to support women in these elections,” Mwangolera said.
UTM Party shadow Member of Parliament for Karonga Central constituency Florence Nthakomwa appealed for support as she is the first female aspirant in the area in the history of the district and promised more development that will benefit people of all ages once elected.
“The appeal for votes is not only coming because I am a woman. I am saying all this because I know challenges that these people are going through. These people lack portable and piped water, electricity, school blocks and a very good road networking,” Nthakomwa said.
Karonga central constituency has one female shadow Member of Parliament and three shadow Ward Councillors while the whole district has a total 22 female aspirants that will battle it out on May 21.
FOCUS with funding from 50:50 Management Agency (MA) through Action Aid is garnering support for equal representation in the National Assembly and Local Government in Karonga district.