As 50-50 campaigners might be smiling that 2019 May 21 tripartite elections have produced 45 female parliamentarians, the effort to produce a female Member of Parliament in Karonga has yield nothing.

Out of the five female Parliamentary candidates that contested, not even one has made it, despite massive awareness campaigns, meeting with various stakeholders and road shows which various institutions conducted in the lakeshore district to drum up support for female candidates.

In Karonga, the Justice and Peace (JP) of Karonga Diocese left no stone unturned as it engaged youth clubs, traditional leaders, church leaders, development leaders and women themselves to market all women shadow candidates political ideologies.

This according to JP desk officer for Karonga diocese Louis Nkhata was done with an aim of reaching out to as many people as possible to accept women in elective positions as culturally, many a people have wrong perception over women’s capabilities as MPs or Ward Councilors.

However, these efforts have failed miserably as the five constituencies have not produced even a single female MP while out of the 10 Wards, only Nyungwe has managed to secure a female Ward Councilor.

Nkhata notes that the reason why female candidates did not fare well could be attributed to the fact that most female candidates had limited resources as compared to male candidates who despite the Political Parties Law, splashed cash and various gifts to the electorates to buy out votes.

“It is sad indeed but not discouraging because as JP, we feel our success is not only dependent on how many people have made it to Parliament or to the Council but the aspect of women and girls’ empowerment.

“On the other hand, the outcome can also be attributed to both external and internal factors. Internally, many female candidates did not prepare well and had limited capacity as most female candidates had limited resources compared to their male counterparts which determined their campaign outreach,” Nkhata said.

However, Nkhata, said the external contributing factor is that the 50:50 campaign started a bit late as he feels the campaign could have started early to change people’s mindset and perception towards female candidates.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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