The 50:50 Campaign Management Agency which is campaigning for more women in leadership positions has assured female candidates in the May 21 Tripartite Elections from the Northern Region that they will all receive their share of the allotted donor funds and materials to assist in their campaigns.
Communications Specialist at the Agency Wisdom Chimgwede said this at Mzuzu Hotel in Mzuzu on Friday during a networking meeting with Association for Women in Media (AWOME) aimed at increasing positive coverage of female politicians.
Chimgwede explained that contrary to fears by some quarters that some of the funds have been misappropriated by the Agency resulting in a delay in giving out the money to female candidates, the disbursement of the funds has in fact been delayed by female candidates themselves after they gave the agency incorrect bank details.
According to Chimgwede, most of the candidates across the Country have now been paid a situation which has freed the Agency to commence the disbursements of cash and cloth to female candidates in the North just under a month to the elections.
“We would have loved to finish off in this process but a lot of candidates when the call went out did send us wrong details. Some sent us details not corresponding with the names on the bank accounts, some sent us details of inactive accounts, so all that has kind of delayed us.
“A good part of Central Region is already done. By next week Tuesday, everybody would have gotten their share of those things. Some think that people sitting at the campaign management agency might have used the money that was made for candidates for their own personal benefits, we don’t even touch those finances, they are with the UN and in the Agency’s account,” Chimgwede said.
For this election, all female aspirants are slated to receive a package comprising a cash starter pack of nomination fee refunds of MK250, 000 for Parliamentary Candidates and MK 20,000 for councillors as well as communications support valued at MK80, 000 for the aspiring MPs; about MK34,500 for transport for councillors and about MK 12000 for communication support for councillors among other related financial support and mentorship.
Female Parliamentary candidates are also receiving 4.5 rolls of cloth while the shadow councillors are getting 1 roll of cloth courtesy of funding from the Royal Norwegian Embassy and the UN Agencies.
Chimgwede, however, lamented a lack of financial preparedness by some of the candidates who expected that the Agency would fund all their campaign costs.
“We are emphasizing preparedness. We must emphasize to the public and to candidates that what 50:50 Campaign is providing is an auxiliary service which cannot even complement even 50% of a person’s campaign budget. The 85% still goes back to preparedness on the part of candidates,” Chimgwede said.
In her remarks, Mandy Pondani, the Regional Representative for AWOME who is also Bureau Chief for Times Group in Mzuzu urged female journalists in the Region to ensure that they report truthfully on the 50:50 Campaign so that more women are enabled to benefit from the Campaign.
“Now that we have known the truth about the Management of the 50:50 Campaign Project, let us make sure that we report the truth and that we profile more young women in our reporting so that we can have more young women from the North in the political space come 2024,” Pondani said.
Over 300 women are expected to contest as MPs while 600 are vying for councillor positions in next month’s Tripartite Elections. However, only one female candidate is contesting as MP is Mzuzu City.