Stella Chauwa, 28, is geared to tread in the land where even men think twice before they pluck courage to tread. She wants to join frontline politics and become a parliamentarian. Her dream is not without cause. “I got inspired by my grandfather who was once a parliamentarian and cabinet minister during Dr. Kamuzu Banda era, and my aunt who was also Member of Parliament,” explains the young lady. “In fact politics is in my blood because I spent more time with my grandfather and every time he would talk about politics and its dynamics.”
On the 1st of April, 2015, CMD organised a one day information sharing meeting in Mangochi as a way of providing updates on the status and progress of the project, share experiences, challenges and lessons from the collaboration with PPFs and mapping the way forward for the project into the next quarter.
In his opening remarks, the Program Manager for CMD, Dr Gerard Chigona welcomed the participants and gave a brief background on CMD and its work as a platform for dialogue for Political Parties in Malawi. He highlighted on the importance of political parties in the consolidation of democracy and their role as key actors in the development of a multiparty country like Malawi.
As part of discharging its mandate, CMD has from the past three years facilitated a dialogue on the review of the current Political Parties Act. In this process, CMD has engaged with different players in the political realm including the district, regional and national party officers, Ministry of Justice, Law commission, Office of Attorney General and the former legal affairs committee amongst others.
As part of the continual process of engaging relevant stakeholders on the drafted Political Parties Act, on the 30th September 2014, CMD convened a meeting with the newly selected Legal Affairs Committee to introduce the draft and seek their input and support before introducing the it in Parliament. It was from this that the delegates agreed on a fully-fledged meeting to fully scrutinise the proposed Act, together the technical working group who drafted the bill.
A National Conference on Electoral Reforms took place in Lilongwe from 11th to 12th December 2014 to initiate a movement for electoral reform in Malawi; debate advantages and disadvantages of various electoral systems and practices; discuss recommendations from issues papers presented at the conference; formulate a national technical working group on electoral reforms and to establish an Expert Reference Group.
Participants to the conference were drawn from Malawi Electoral Commission, Government ministries and parastatals, Civil Society, political parties, the Media, Security Agents, international development partners, Academia and Traditional Leaders.
With funding from the Netherlands Institute of Democracy (NIMD), CMD held a board induction on interparty dialogue and its role in a multiparty democracy at Sun and Sand Hotel, 8th December 2014.
The event drew the participation of Political Parties namely DPP, PP, PPM, MCP, AFORD, UDF and NASAF. Attending the event, were also two delegates from Ghana, Ahmed Ramadhan the National Chairperson for Peoples National Convection and Peter Mac Manu, former chair for New Patriotic Party invited to share their experiences to the participants.
“A lot of women are quite hesitant to join politics because of all the names people associate with women politicians. You have to be headstrong and persistent as a woman if you want to make it in politics in this country”
These sentiments were shared by Agness Nkusa-Nkhoma, of People’s Party during the orientation of mentors training that took place at Bridge Hotel in Lilongwe.
The trainings, which were conducted in the 4 regional cells was part of the of the DIPD women in Politics Project was part of the activities aimed at increasing the participation of Women in political party leadership structures and decision making processes.
Centre for Multiparty Democracy – Malawi (CMD – M) on February 13 signed a US$1,200 ‘Strengthening Political Parties Project Support Document’ with the British Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The project’s main aim is to empower political parties to effectively participate in Malawi’s multi-party democracy, by among other things, assisting political parties to have clear policy orientation.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, DFID Country Representative Sara Sanyahumbi said the project her organisation was bankrolling alongside UNDP was in response to a recent CMD – M-commissioned study that showed that almost all political parties in Malawi were deficient in all major capacity areas.