BLANTYRE--Is the thrill gone?
Academician and rights activist Jessie Kabwila-Kapasula isn't impressed with Joyce Banda's administration, saying she occupies the presidency by chance.
"It is not through the ballot that she became president, so this symbolic gesture should not be confused as victory.
"She should know that the battle for women is still on and in my view it is up to President Banda at the moment not to blemish chances of other women," she told the Daily Times.
Kabwila-Kapasula of the 'Academic Freedom' saga, said Joyce Banda was "increasingly becoming arrogant and is detaching herself from the citizens.
"Having a woman and a mother as President is something that we all take joy and pride in, it surely has to be celebrated by all of us women and girls.
"For me, my expectation is that having a woman president should be inspiring to the girl child to say that it is possible to be a leader and a lot of girls will be encouraged to aspire to take up such challenges," she said.
Her last words: "The President must conduct and carry out duties of her office in a manner that proves that women can be real and good servant leaders. A servant leader will not be arrogant. A servant leader will listen and respond to the needs of the people. I am not seeing this in Joyce Banda."
Kabwila-Kapasula led Chancellor College (Chanco), Malawi's largest public institution of higher learning, in its fight for academic freedom after police interrogated a lecturer who led discussion in his class political developments in North Africa which saw the fall of oppressive regimes there.
The interrogation prompted Chanco lecturers to boycott classes, arguing that their freedom to teach without interference had been compromised. They demanded an apology from police and an assurance that the incident wouldn't be repeated but then Pres Bingu wa Mutharika said there would be no apology.
Mutharika accused the lecturers of encouraging students to rise up against his government at a time the country was experiencing acute foreign exchange shortages and fuel.
The disagreement led to a standoff that lasted for about to a year. Mutharika's successor, Joyce Banda, promised to guarantee academic freedom when she assumed power after his death in April.
Kabwila-Kapasula's concern is that if Pres Banda doesn't deliver, it could reinforce the belief among some that women can't be effective political leaders.
---(c) The Maravi Post 2012. Reproduction without acknowledgement prohibited