The gender card


When I went home to Malawi recently, voter registration had just started in some districts. I read newspaper articles in which President Banda urged people to register to vote, to stake their claim in democracy. The headlines were good, the copy was full of donor-friendly pro-democracy soundbites.

But by and large, the people I spoke to were unhappy about food prices, inflation, a weak currency, loadshedding and blackouts….and corruption. It would be foolish to pretend that President Banda doesn’t face misogyny as one of Africa’s few women leaders, but one of the criticisms I heard levelled against her most frequently is that she was absent.

In the beginning, when she took over following the death of President Bingu wa’Mutharika, foreign visits…

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