Thursday, November 18, 2010

Teaching women how to win elections

The Women’s Forum on Wednesday equipped women candidates of the upcoming local government elections with various skills designed to give them an edge in the contest.

The 30 women, who were drawn from across the Northern Region, convened at Livingstonia Synods’ Conference Hall in Mzuzu.

Political Analyst and history lecture at Mzuzu University, Noel Mbowela, was the main speaker at the workshop. He stressed the need for the women to heed advice, respect chiefs and to avoid mudslinging in their campaign.

Mbowela (man) listens to a question from one of the ladies.

“Learn to point what is wrong and not who is wrong. If you are to win the election you should concentrate on critical issues like how you will bring electricity, water and fertilizer to the people. Also remember to separate politics from religion,” said Mbowela in summarising his lesson.

In a subsequent interview, Mbowela said the aim of the workshop was to equip the women with basic political skills with emphasis on contemporary issues such as the fertilizer subsidy program.

“We have taught them how to argue and answer tough questions that the public might ask during the campaign period,” he said.

One of the participants, Ethel Mwakalimi (Aford) from Yamba ward, Chitipa central constituency said she had gained a lot from the workshop.

Ethel Mwakalini(standing) makes her point

“I have learned that switching political allegiance anyhow brings dictatorship. I have also learned how to be a good leader. I am now confident to go and launch my campaign,” Mwakalimi said.

The workshop was funded by ActionAid through the Northern Region chapter of the Women Forum.

“This is just one of a series of sensitization workshops that we are involved in, we wanted to do the political workshops in each district but due to financial strains we decided just to invite some of the participating women,” said Lillian Kumwenda, Regional Administrative Secretary for Women’s Forum Northern Region Chapter.

Women’s Forum is an umbrella body for various girls and women organisation including HIV, farmers’, business and Political groupings.

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