Social activist Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula says President Joyce Banda’s leadership style is not inspiring enough to affirm the capabilities of Malawian women to effectively hold the position of President of the republic.

Kabwila was commenting on mother’s day celebrations which Malawi marked yesterday for the first time with President Banda—a woman and a mother as President of the republic.

Kabwila said Malawians especially women and girls who had high expectations that the ascendancy to the presidency by Joyce Banda would prove wrong the perception that many people hold against women holding high political positions, are increasingly getting disappointed.

According to Kabwila, just like her predecessors who were all men, President Banda is increasingly becoming arrogant and is detaching herself from the citizens, citing the issue of the president’s costly foreign travel.

“Having a woman and a mother as President is something that we all take joy and pride in, it surely has to be celebrated by all of us women and girls. For me my expectation is that having a woman president should be inspiring to the girl child to say that it is possible to be a leader and a lot of girls will be encouraged to aspire to take up such challenges.

“She is in this office by chance. It is not through the ballot that she became president so this symbolic gesture should not be confused as victory. She should know that the battle for women is still on and in my view it is all up to Joyce Banda at the moment not to blemish chances of other women,” said Kabwila, who championed academic freedom last year during a stand-off with Mutharika regime.

President Banda and her government have in recent weeks been under attack for being extravagant after blowing up to K309 million on a trip to the United Nations General assembly in New York.

This was largely due to the huge entourage which included traditional chiefs and People’s Party functionaries the president took on the trip.

However, the President on her return from the trip defended both expenditure and the entourage as necessary and added she would continue taking personal guests on her foreign trip.

Kabwila said the disadvantage, however, is that unlike the men Presidents before her, President Banda would be heavily judged based on her gender which will also have a bearing on women and girls aspiring to become leaders in future.

“This mother’s day should be a time to reflect and remind our president that she is in that office to open up opportunities of fellow women and the girl child.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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