President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has come out of his cocoon and hit back at critics of his new Cabinet which has few women, saying the private sector including the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) has few women in its hierarchy.

Mutharika said this during University of Malawi graduation ceremony at Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC) in the capital Lilongwe.

“The responsibility of promoting women is not for the Government alone. How many women are CEOs in the private sector?

“As a HeForShe Champion, I want to see women in the private sector. I want to see women in faith communities, including PAC (which is male dominated). I want to see women in parliament. I want to see women in labour movements. I want to see women in civil societies. I want to see women leading in the media,” said Mutharika.

He added: “In all these organisations, there are only few women in decision making positions. Even some of those who are attacking Government do not have women in their leadership levels. So, let us stop being hypocrites and advance women in our society.”

Mutharika has since promised to continue appointing women of merit to decision making levels.

“I appointed the first female Vice Chancellor in this country. I have appointed the first female Chief Commissioner of Prisons. I have appointed a female Clerk of Parliament and Ombudsman. I have appointed a female Chairperson for Malawi Electoral Commission and the Commission has a majority of women members. This is a process that we have begun.

“I have appointed many more women into various positions because I believe in empowering women. Of the four judges that I appointed in 2016, two are women. I have appointed women ambassadors, women Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in parastatals, women Principal Secretaries, and a woman Solicitor General. I have also appointed a woman Secretary General of my own party – the DPP,” he said.

Mutharika has become under fire for reducing the number of women in his Cabinet from four to three.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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