Women lawyers petition Mutharika over new cabinet

Members of Women Lawyers Association(WLA) of Malawi have presented a petition to President Mutharika protesting against the reduction in the number of women in his cabinet from four to three

The women lawyers on Monday stormed the OPC at Capital hill where they presented the petition to chief secretary of the government Lloyd Muhara.

Led by their president Sarai Chisala the women lawyers are protesting against poor women representation in the cabinet. In the petition, the women lawyers argue that “WLA would like to express its concerns on how irregular and unfair the recent cabinet and board appointments are. WLA acknowledges the power vested in the office of the president to make public appointments. However, it is our view that the recent appointments have been made without due regard to the interests of women in Malawi or the laws that have been put in place to protect them “reads the statement

Member of Women Lawyers Association

However, Minister of information and Communication Technology and government spokesman Henry Mussa said people should not only look at cabinet as they are many positions in government headed by women. Mussa said “The Malawi Electoral commission, chairperson is a woman as well as the competition and fair trading chief executive officer. Then we have the women leaders in embassies, parliament, parastatals and even principal secretaries “

The women lawyers have argued that it is constitutionally not right  to have less representation of women in top positions like cabinet ministers or board members “The decision to appoint less women in the cabinet is the violation of constitution  which in section 13 declares it to be a principle of our national policy to actively promote the welfare  and development of our people by pushing for gender equality through full participation of women in all spheres of Malawi society on the basis of equal opportunities with men. Our constitution goes further to spell out the rights of women under sections 20 and 24, prohibiting discrimination against women specifically prohibiting discrimination in work, business and public affairs “ read the statement.

President Mutharika recently reshuffled his cabinet. In his new cabinet the number of women have been reduced from 4 to 3.