Female shadow candidates in Chikwawa have impressed organizers of public debates, National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Public Trust, and other local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) implementing the 50:50 campaign in the district by showing up for public debates.
NICE Trust district civic education officer for Chikwawa Josephy Chamambala said unlike male candidates who shunned public debates in some constituencies and wards, almost all the female aspirants for Chikwawa attended the public debates which were organised to create a platform for voters in the district to meet their candidates for the May 21 tripartite elections.
Chamambala was speaking during an interview on Sunday at Pende primary school ground in group village head man Pende’s area in traditional authority (T/A) Kasisi after attending the final debate organised for Ward Councillors for Ndalanda Ward in Chikwawa North Constituency.
“It has been very encouraging that in all the constituencies and wards that we conducted the debates here in Chikwawa, female contestants participated.
“Even the way they articulated their political manifestos, it shows that they are ready to deliver if they are elected,” said Chamambala.
On his part, executive director for Development Initiative Network (DIN) Malawi Andrew Billiati said his organisation has been drilling female contestants in Chikwawa in manifesto formulation and public speaking hence their participation and performance during the debate.
Billiati added that his organisation has intensified awareness campaign in the district to reverse people’s mindset in the lower shire district of Chikwawa which has cultural norms discouraging women from becoming leaders.
During the public debate which was conducted in Chikwawa Nkombedzi constituency, the sole female candidate for the area Abida Mia took part and in Chikwawa Central Esnart Chidanti who is contesting on an independent ticket also took part.
In Chikwawa West Constituency, daughter to former minister for youth development and sports in the UDF led administration Susan Dosi is contesting as an independent candidate and in Chikwawa North Constituency Brenda Thomson is also contesting on an independent ticket as well. She is the daughter of Harry Thomson, another cabinet Minister in the same UDF administration.
There are ten female parliamentary aspirants in Chikwawa and ten female local council aspirants.