THE women’s movement has called for the immediate arrest of Kasama Central member of Parliament Geoffrey Mwamba for allegedly threatening violence against his sister-in-law.
The Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordinating Council has also demanded his resignation from Parliament.
But the police are still investigating the matter before they can make any move, Lusaka province commanding officer Mhlakeni Zulu said in Lusaka on January 13.
Zambian National Women’s Lobby public relations officer Nelson Banda said the law enforcement agencies should not hesitate to arrest Mr Mwamba because threatening violence is a criminal offence.
On January 11, Mr Mwamba allegedly threatened violence against Doreen Mwamba, his younger brother’s wife, over a debt of K11.5 million which he reportedly refused to pay.
“The police should cage Mr Mwamba until he is proven innocent. He is a danger to the well-being of women,” he said.
Mr Banda said in an interview in Lusaka on January 13 that no one is above the laws of Zambia and that Mr Mwamba should not be spared. He said Mr Mwamba is not fit to be an MP because his behaviour is a disgrace to the house that makes laws.
“Parliament is an honourable house and we cannot afford to have people like Mr Mwamba,” Mr Banda said.
He said MPs are supposed to take the lead in enforcing what they preach in Parliament, instead of doing the opposite.
Mr Banda said the majority of voters in Zambia are women and that Mr Mwamba should be wary of his actions.
“Very soon Mr Mwamba will be soliciting for votes from the same women and he should not be surprised if he is not re-elected to Parliament,” he said.
Women and Law in Southern Africa regional co-ordinator Matrine Chuulu said it is disrespect for an MP to threaten violence against a woman.
“The National Assembly is currently revising the amended Anti-Gender Violence Bill through its parliamentary committees on legal affairs, governance, human rights and gender matters which Mr Mwamba is part of and the behaviour he is exhibiting is uncalled for,” she said.
“Parliamentarians should be championing zero tolerance against gender-based violence,” she said.
And Leadership in Development executive director Moses Kalonde has given the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership a 48-hour ultimatum to discipline Mr Mwamba, failure to which it will mount a massive demonstration to force Mr Mwamba to resign on moral grounds.
Mr Kalonde said it is the responsibility of the PF leadership to deal with Mr Mwamba.
Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) chairperson Beatrice Grillo said she is disappointed with Mr Mwamba’s behaviour of perpetuating violence against women, especially that it is barely three months after he allegedly assaulted his wife.
“It seems Mr Mwamba is not remorseful. We reiterate our call for Mr Mwamba to step down as a member of Parliament for Kasama Central as he is not fit to be a leader. He lacks leadership qualities,” Ms Grillo said.
She said gender-based violence in any form should be condemned because it does not resolve conflict.
Ms Grillo said Mr Mwamba allegedly has a history of violence and wondered which other cases he has been involved in that have not been reported.
“As the women’s movement, we urge Mrs Mwamba (Doreen) and indeed any others who may find themselves in similar situations not to accept out of court settlements as this makes the perpetrators continue committing violence on others,” Ms Grillo said.
Meanwhile, Mr Mwamba has accused the MMD of using his sister-in-law to tarnish his political career.
But MMD acting national secretary Chembe Nyangu denied the allegations.
And Mr Mwamba’s brother George (Doreen’s husband) said the issue will be resolved within the family.
Mr Mwamba was speaking at a press briefing at his residence in Lusaka on January 13.
[Zambia Daily Mail]