UN, govt set up fund to help women fight poll results

After putting 42 women in Parliament, the 50:50 campaign has gone a step further. A multi-million kwacha basket fund has been set aside to support women who lost the elections and want to challenge results in court.

NGO Gender Coordinating Network coordinator Emma Kaliya said in an interview Thursday the fund was set up “when we were planning the 50:50 campaign”.

She said: “A law firm has been appointed to handle all cases related to the election results and anything related to the 50:50 campaign.

Kaliya could not, however, confirm the amount of money in the basket fund. She said the Ministry of Women and Child Development is better placed to know the amount.

Bertha Sefu, programme coordinator for the 50:50 campaign at the ministry, said she had all the information on the fund but could not disclose the same to the media.

Spokesperson for the ministry Cyrus Jeke said he was on leave and did not have details of the fund.

Former first deputy speaker of Parliament Esther Mcheka Nkhoma is expected to benefit from the fund.

In an interview Thursday, Mcheka Nkhoma said she applied for financial assistance to challenge in court the Nsanje North onstituency results. She lost her seat to DPP’s Frank Viyazyi.

The campaign, meant to put more women in decision making positions, attracted 232 women contestants. It has been billed a success because, from 27 women in the 2004-2009 Parliament, the number has almost doubled to 42 women, the majority of them new faces.

The election of the first ever woman Vice-President, Joyce Banda, is also seen as the success of the national campaign led by the Ministry of Women and Child Development but bankrolled by UN agencies and the Norwegian government.



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