The May 19 presidential and parliamentary
elections in Malawi will have more women candidates that ever. Statistics
indicate that there are about 243 female candidates this year compared to 154
in 2004 elections.
increasing number is attributed to the moral and financial support the aspiring
women candidates are getting from the organizations fighting for equal
representation in decision-making positions.
are supporting the NGO Gender Coordination Network, which is funding all women candidates. Some enjoy a second source of funding – from
their political parties.
Mdala is committee member of the task force for the Pan African Civic Educators
Network, a local NGO is fighting for more women in the National Assembly. She's the candidate for the opposition
People's Progressive Movement in Blantyre West Constituency
She says it's time for
people to put more women in parliament.
they have money," says Mdala, "[some men] with one wife think of adding [two more]. [They also think of using] the money which was supposed to be used for village development to enrich themselves. But women always think of the [our] work, and [the needs of our people]. That is why in most areas there are
differences when you look at the work [women and men] are doing."
some elected women officials are accused of also not aiding in development.
Mdala says many of these belong to opposition parties. She says opposition politicians hesitate to
lobby the government for funding. She
explains that it's the government who makes the final decision on releasing
development money, and it often allots funding only to ruling party
legislators. So, opposition members
instead focus on attracting donor and NGO support to their districts.
says although she is in the opposition, this does not apply to her. She says
she makes sure that people in her constituency get the development support they
need like, good roads, hospital, boreholes and schools. Mdala is Muslim, but she says she will
consult closely with Christians and other group to help them develop their