Written by Yamikani Mwawa:
50-50 Management Agency Team Leader, Viwemi Chavula, is underscoring the agency’s focus on strategies to increase women’s participation in the National Assembly and local government.
Chavula shared insights into the agency’s recent engagements with political party representatives, reflecting on challenges faced during the 2019 tripartite elections and strategizing for improved outcomes.
“Despite progress, challenges such as insufficient financial support and violence against women, are contributing to the lower-than-desired percentage of women in politics and decision-making platforms”, noted Chavula.
He added that “117 women out of 310 who participated in previous elections, choose independent candidature, pointing to a lack of political will by parties to include more women in their nominations”.
Chavula criticized Malawi’s First Past The Post (FTPT) electoral system, contrasting it with systems in Namibia and South Africa, where political parties are mandated to include women on their party lists.
Expressing skepticism about the upcoming elections, he underscores the limitations of Malawi’s electoral system, allowing only a 25 percent representation for women, primarily determined by voters’ choices.
The low representation of women in politics contradicts Malawi’s 2063 vision, aiming to reinforce gender equality’s critical role at the household, community, and national levels.
Malawi currently holds the 8th position out of 16 in the SADC region for women’s representation in the National Assembly, as indicated by the 2022 SADC Gender and Development Protocol.
The number of women in Parliament has been fluctuating over the years, with only 30 winning the May 2014 Tripartite Elections, down from 43 in 2009 and 45 in the previous 2019 elections.