To deal with the dwindling numbers of women legislators, the governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has begun whipping up support for aspiring and sitting women members of Parliament (MPs) to increase their number in 2019.
Several DPP legislators were in Neno South Constituency last weekend to drum up support for the parliamentarian of the area, Mary Maulidi-Khembo, in what the party’s director of women affairs Patricia Kaliati described as a retention programme.
“This is a retention programme where we want to maintain the female MPs we have and bring in more others in 2019,” she said.
Maulidi-Khembo, assisted by fellow MPs and Senior Chief Symon, outlined several development projects the area has accomplished since the May 2014 Tripartite Elections.
The MPs included Daudi Chida for Mulanje Limbuli and Susan Ndalama of Blantyre Rural East. Maulidi-Khembo and Chida won their 2014 seats as independents but are now aligning themselves with DPP.
During the 2009 general elections, the DPP raised the hopes of gender activists when it got 42 female MPs. However, the number reduced and it now has only 32.
“We know it is a tall order but our target is that in 2019 we should at least have 30 more female MPs to make it 62. That is why we have started this campaign earlier because most times we perform poorly because of the time factor.
“We want to mobilise as many women aspirants as possible and empower them with campaign skills,” explained Kaliati.
Senior Chief Symon applauded Maulidi-Khembo for the projects she has initiated in the area that are now transforming the face of Neno South.
On her part, Maulidi-Khembo thanked various development partners who, above the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Local Development Fund (LDF) and District Development Fund (DDF) have complemented the projects. n