Is Zambia ready for a female president?

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Forum for Democracy and Development FDD leader, Edith Nawakwi
By Dr. R. Mtonga

Zambia’s nascent democracy is coming of age very rapidly.

As a young nation at 47 years of age this year, Zambia is a long way from ripening and reaching the ultimate in democracy.

It is a well-studied and indisputable fact that the vast many Zambians alive today do not even have the slightest memory of life before independence in 1964.

Very few indeed remember what it was like to live under British Imperial domination and let alone how the struggle for independence was conceived, orchestrated and won.

Oddly, though, the historical archives are replete with the heroics of the freedom fights, the majority of whom are nameless and faceless.

A visit to the Zambian National Archives or the Lusaka Museum will fully repay the labour in that regard.

Doubtlessly, the fleeting passage of time has entombed some of the precious landmarks in Zambia’s match to freedom.

Names of the gallant sons and daughters of the soil connected to Zambia’s political liberation are forever etched onto the colours of the national flag.

One would run out of space and time to catalogue heroes and heroines that put their pride, lives and limbs on the firing line to secureZambia’s dawn as a proud nation.

Among luminous names that come to mind effortlessly are Julia Chikamoneka, Robert Chiluwe, Mpundu Mwape, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Nalumino Mundia, Munukayumbwa Sipalo, Humphrey Mulemba, Reuben Kamanga, Alexander Shapi, Alexander Grey Zulu, Mama Kankasa, Mary Fulano, Chieftainess Nkomesha, Christine Mulundika, Zenia Ndhlovu, Joshua Simuyandi, Daniel Munkombwe, Ludwig Sondashi, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, John Mwanakatwe, Kenneth David Kaunda.

This starry host of foot soldiers dismantled the British Imperial hegemony with resoluteness and selflessness.

It is clear that many women in Zambian politics, ancient and modern played and have continued to play a crucial role in shaping Zambia’spolitical destiny.

This fact, though rarely appreciated, can be seen not only on the fading pages of Zambian political history, but also in the current skirmishing manouevres to increase the number of women in politically-sensitive decision-making roles.

Many women, and rightly so are asking for more political space to show-off their wares.

In terms of political party hierarchies, however, not many women have seen the upper echelons of power.

The late Gwendoline Konie tried her hand at this and failed lamentably to attract votes.

She was in fact humiliated so much so that her influence was akin to a negative stain on the political fabric of Zambia.

Her resounding failure is only conspicuous by contrast. General Godfrey Miyanda, arguably Zambia’s most unprecedented “nearly-presidential material;” could easily have shed tears for Gwendoline had it not been for the fact he was mourning for himself at the time when late president Levy Patrick Mwanawasa took all before him to the dish washers! In modern times, one Edith Nawakwi has arisen with the clouds.

She was thrust into the lime-light during the glory-days of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).

Hitherto an unknown marketeer at Northmead Market, Nawakwi soon became a force to reckon with by Kenneth Kaunda’s United National Independence Party (UNIP).

Nawakwi, a tough-talking doyen of the MMD, was a darling to many that had been baying for change to the chagrin of the UNIP die-hards.

Come 1991, Nawakwi, a bosom member of Frederick Chiluba’s inner circle was among the few women cabinet ministers. She was the first Third Republic minister of Energy and Water Development.

Later, the Nawakwi scored another first as the first and one of the youngest ministers of Finance in Zambian history.

Nawakwi also served as minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives.

The dizzy heights that Nawakwi had scaled in the MMD in those days, however, came to an unceremonious and abbreviated end with the Frederick Chiluba’s ill-advised and ill-fated unconstitutional third-term bid managed and orchestrated by Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, currently the self-anointed and sole owner and leader of the amphibious Patriotic Front Party.

Nawakwi was among the 19 MMD bigwigs that took the walk of honour, aided and abetted by the cunning King Cobra the then minister Without Portfolio and Chiluba’s chief praise singer, alongside late General Christon Tembo, and others to form the Forum for Democracy and Development.

Nawakwi’s light continued to shine in FDD as the first-ever female vice-president of a political party in Zambia.

History was still onher side as she later became the president of FDD via Munali as a member of Parliament, a seat she won against many odds.

This proud daughter of Chief Nawaitwika’s village is a true-firebrand in her own right.
The current FDD president is here today aspiring for Plot One. The question, therefore, that begs an answer is; has the hour come for the combative Nawakwi to take over the mantle from the larger-than-life Rupiah Bwezani Banda of the MMD? Many readers will agree that wrestling power from the formidable and almost indomitable RB and his MMD jagger-naughts will take more than wishful thinking.

RB is currently a favourite to retain power. He is heads-and-shoulders above his rivals.

All doubting Thomases need only wait for the election results announcement by the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia Justice Ireen Mambilima, when the moment comes, to confirm this assertion.

Nawakwi seems to be relying on gender to woo votes. It does not seemlikely though that the women of Zambia are minded to throw their choice into Namakwi’s basket.

The Women’s Lobby Group, with a faltering membership, is not a force to talk about. Nawakwi is better advised to look elsewhere for votes.

The men folk on the other hand seem not ready to lend their weight to a female presidential candidate this voting term.
The name Nawakwi is not heard even in hushed tones at watering holes.

Many would rather retire to their beds than consider Nawakwi a topic worth its salt in political terms.

The students, from the look of things, do not seem to have set their sights on Nawakwi either.

One would be excused to think that Nawakwi is more of a political orphan than a serious contender in this year’s tripartite elections.

Nawakwi’s political platform of note, the media, unfortunately will not be taking part in the 2011 presidential elections.

The current laws do not allow institutional or college voting. The law needs to bechanged to accommodate this and it appears a bit late for Nawakwi to push her luck through this channel.

It must be granted that Nawakwi must be allowed to enjoy and exercise her right to aspire for any political office in the land as she hasdone in the past.

After all Zambia is a democracy. Just for the avoidance of ignorance, this year’s elections are not forthe faint-hearted or fat-witted but for men of stamina.

Boys and girls this time round will do better as cheer-leaders and not contenders. Standing vertically at 178 centimetres or nearly six foot, Nawakwi is well and truly blessed with a good physical height.

But even with that metric or imperial measurement in her favour, it will be a tall order for her to land the job at Plot One. It will, therefore, be foolhardy for Nawakwi to throw her hat into these elections alone as she will, as it were, be committing political suicide by falling on her own sword.

The good news, however, is that Nawakwi has many options still open toher.
She would either go back to the drawing board or join hands with other political groupings with a shouting chance.

Nawakwi could also endorse one or other of the potential presidential candidates or standin Munali or Isoka East constituencies as a parliamentary candidate.

Nawakwi as a farmer and business woman could alternatively go greenand contribute from those angles too.

After all feeding the poor isnobler than presiding over them or entering a race the Nawakwi will gloriously and lamentably lose.

This is not a threat; it is a timely advice to Nawakwi. May the dead remain silent.

[Times of Zambia]

45 COMMENTS

  1. vote

    The question should be are females ready for the Zambian Presidency? We cant ask the nation if it is ready when there has been no female contesting the presidency. A woman candidate has never challenged for the Presidency for us to assess whether its her gender or capabilities at play.

    • +1
      0
      vote

      Angoni, Zambia has had 2 female presidential contenders, 1. Ms Gwedoline Konie and 2. Bo Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika

  2. vote

    ‘RB is currently a favourite to retain power. He is heads-and-shoulders above his rivals.’The article is biased towards the ruling party. It must have been written by a cadre. However, it is true that Zambia is not yet ready for a woman president but its ready for change and the one to carry the day and will be announced by ECZ chairperson will be SATA.

  3. vote

    It shouldn’t matter because we should have the best qualified person whether male or female.Some females can also be just as bad as men in running things and it often happens that sometimes their worst enemies can be other women with a “pull her down” syndrome.More of them need to be stepping forward regardless as all i car for is a better zambia.

  4. vote

    WHY WOULD A MMD CADRE WRITE ABOUT SOMEONE WHO CANNOT WIN THIS YEAR AND CAN ONLY SUPPORT SATA AS SHE IS DOING NOW?

  5. vote

    This is one of those articles sponsored by the MMD to deflect opinions away from Sata the ultimate winner in the coming presidential elections.

    It is not our fault that Zambian women seek glory elsewhere other than into presidential elections. We must jack up our educational system so that all our children can aspire for better jobs in life beyond radio announcing or dancing at the airport to welcome fat male politicians.

    • vote

      Ba PF i really pity you. this time you will not only be shocked but you will equally collapse and your presidential candidate will end up in ICU again. Where are you basing your hopes for victory in this year’s elections? You will lose again terribly and if not careful even the UPND will beat you. your president is making the same mistake-basing his campaigns and hope on what the Post Newspaper tells him. Look at HH, he is breaking new grounds and following party strategies and not any newspaper. RB is also busy campaigning in line with the MMD policies (not following the Times, Daily or the Mass media). so ba PF get real and look at issues on a wider scale. Your man (Sata) is going nowhere. look at the people surrounding him lately? Mulongoti, sondashi, mpombo, chongwe, ..just pause!

  6. vote

    when you think about woman president, it is only possible in political ERECTION not political elections.

  7. vote

    Zambia has always been ready for a female President but Zambian females are not ready for the Presidency. We Zambians expect impeccable behaviour from women folk. When a man sleeps around or grabs another man’s wife, Zambians wink at that. But when a woman does the same, Oh no, it is taboo. This has been many a political woman’s undoing! We are waiting for a decent MRS to lead. The ‘Ms’ and ‘Miss’s will never rule Zambia.

  8. vote

    This is nonsence bring Dora in state house she will sell all remaining companies and i want to correct the writer of this rubbish that Edith Nawakwi has never been a marketer at northmead market she was a civil servant before she joined MMD my flat was just next to hers on church Road in Lusaka, she is a product of UNZA for your own information and she has two degrees please research before you post such silly things.

  9. vote

    I think if the Honourable Miss Dora Siliya had been brave enough at the convention she would have easily overthrown Rupiah. This woman is so intelligent she has made government release massive funding to her ministry. Given the chance she would make a good dictator, the type Zambia needs. She is firm but she listens if you present a good argument. She has charisma and she’s sharp. She speaks good English and with her wisdom and experience she can even make Zambia have a bigger say on international matters.

  10. vote

    Coupled with a good education and a “CAN DO IT ALL” attitude, honourable Miss Dora Siliya has shown that the poorly handled RP Capital case is a minor issue because she has overcome it all by providing a good education policy from which the nation as a whole can benefit. She is a woman with strong moral and ethical fibre, but the muscle of a man and the horse power of a bull. She broke the barriers of beaurocracy in her ministry and dispersed funding to her teachers. She thinks from her own head and gives speeches which even Rupiah can’t make. She is a powerful dynamic woman and politics is what she was made to do. Only she can lead Zambia to redemption.

  11. vote

    Where are the editors? How did someone let the horrific gramatical errors in this piece pass?

  12. vote

    “Very few indeed remember what it was like to live under British Imperial domination and let alone how the struggle for independence was conceived, orchestrated and won.” Neither do you, my dear Dr Mtonga, as you and I were born in 1966,  a couple of years after Independence. By the way how are you old chum?

  13. vote

    WHO SAID THESE WORDS?…..“The laws of this land recognise gayism. The laws of this land recognise lesbianism. The laws are there we (PF) just need to implement them”…..
    .. NOTE…..a reward of GREAT wisdom will be given for any correct answer.

  14. vote

    the author forgot to mention that despite everything Ms Nawakwi AKA Hambulo is also a husband snatcher who has scored a first in this area as well. she surely is too ugly to be floated as Presidential candidate as if she has just arrived from Juba in Southern Sudan.

  15. vote

    #13
     i do not need any prize to say sata is at the centre of such disturbing words. everyone knows that even villagrers mu dwoli (remote areas) know that sata wants to promote gays in zambia.  i do not think any sane person can vote for this subnormal man in sata. hh noticed this gay mind in sata a long time ago and he just wanted to see if sata can change his mind on gays but he hasnt done so upto now. so you pf kaponyas watch out and be normal. your leader will soon be behind bars for using gay club cash in his campaigns because he will lose the elections and he will have no capacity to pay back to his gay friends all over the world including those he visited in UK last month. I end here!

  16. vote

    #10 – I totally agree with you. Dora is a focused lady with a very powerful vision. I would not mind if she becomes a Vice President because she is very hard working?

  17. vote

    Go to hell with your Dora some of you chaps need your heads examined and for you Dr. Silly not stop posting nonsence here!

  18. vote

    Yes, BUT not these clowns we have in the form of Dora, Nawakwi and other-related alangizis !

  19. vote

    Dora can make a very very good Republican President. Very sharp young lady. The other one is Silvia “Thatcher” Masebo.

  20. vote

    #8 – We are not talking about papers here! We are talking about people of substance and those with proven achievements in delivering to the Nation. Who has no degree/ PHD? Dora is a delivering product and we are able to see her products. RB is also showing us all the progress he is making towards GDP. Let’s talk about progressing the nation not selfish gains

  21. vote

    The one true word he said in his article, General Miyanda would be the greatest president Zambia ever had. If only he chose better subordinates in his heritage party. It seems he is asleep but his deputies are either unconscious or in comas. Justice Mumba would be a great first female president of Zambia.

  22. vote

    Catherine Namugala would be a great vice president for president Godfrey Miyanda.

  23. vote

    @ no 24 Wangulanu well said, she should stand firm for the prosperity and posterity of future daughters of ours to have greatness to look up to in the form of sheer drive. FDD should merge with Heritage cause we all know President Miyanda needs people, then in a greater Zambia she would succeed Miyanda as president.

  24. vote

    Even if I will do this single handedly I have officially initiated the president Godfrey Miyanda campaign. Whatever you may say be practical and wisely intelligent in your responses; questions are welcome also. GODFREY MIYANDA for president.

  25. vote

    The greatest fit of engineering ever achieved by mankind is the floating Nalikwanda. Sing in joy for our glorious UNSINKABLE, BREATHTAKING, SPECTACULAR, SUPERB NALIKWANDA. We shall endeavour to mightily defend our vast rich territories and shield them from humiliation of undeserving inferior zambians. Our supreme Lozi race will once again lead the world as the source of man’s civilization. Our pride will protect us from all who dare set up camp on our beautiful mother land. No nation or province shall prosper in its efforts to dislodge us from our superior standards.

    • vote

      Amloshi,your women love us,iwe welcome to the real world chikaka and we love your men masoe,makind yobe *******

  26. vote

    We shall fight back in courage and in strength at all who ever attack our strong empire. Cursed is he who dares to speak against us for we shall send them an Armageddon sunrise of erupting volcanoes and lightning thunderstorms. It shall rain hell fire and speeding tornadoes. Clouds will crack open in the midsummer sky and the whips of nature will reap open your spines and expose you to the plagues of the universe. We shall aggressively assemble our mighty armies and march towards our promised Barotse Falls. We are the owners of the land we will claim what is rightfully ours and give back to the Induna what belongs to Induna. Viva Barotse the grand empire

  27. vote

    What Dollar Sillier in state house!! My foot foot!! Are you guys out of your minds. State House will will metamophosize from a Grand casino it is 2day to a fully fledged BROTHEL… OMG!!! Try Chieftainess Nkomesha.

  28. vote

    To be fair Zambia will only have a woman President in the next world why are you all chaps pretending here which man will allow that?

  29. vote

    I do agree with Kalulu Dr.Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika once led the famous national,God fearing and honest.During her work at washington DC Dr Inonge has brought in many American to help Zambia.We have to remeber the Wendy Sinkala who wass pioner meber of MMD in 1991.I just felt to talk about her.Now the other lady worth the post is the BIG ELEPHANT no other than ANN CHIFUNGULA hahah that lady!!! Auditor General if my memory serves me right.Inonge Wina is another legend. MMMMmm Ba Zambia ni sotambe .Let us project some of these .

  30. vote

    EDITH HAS POTENTIAL TO BECOME FIRST WOMAN PRESIDENT IN THIS COUNTRY…SHE HAS WHAT IT TAKES……..INTELLIGENCE, COURAGE, CARISMA ETC…….SHE WAS DRIBBLED BY HH AND SHE HAS LEARNT HER LESSONS……. AND OF COURSE SHE HAS BEEN DISSAPPOINTED BY NYAMA SOY… FOR THE SUPPORT RENDERED BUT SQUANDERED…..TO BE PRESIDENT? WELL MAYBE NOT JUST NOW…….MEANWHILE MY ADVICE TO HER IS TO PUT HER WEIGHT BEIND SATA IN THE 2011 ELECTIONS……..SHE MAY JUST CLINCH THE POSITION OF VICE PRESIDENT…….MIND YOU, SATA WANTS TO PROMOTE WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP…….

  31. vote

    In case we have forgotten, it was Mr Sata who chased away Nawakwi and many MMD members, about 22 were expelled. If my memory serves me right, Mr Sata, then as MMD National Secretary, chased them from the MMD because Sata was busy championing the third term bid for FTJ which Nawakwi and the others expelled didnt subscribe to. So, i doubt it if Nawakwi has forgotten that ordeal by the Cobra.

  32. vote

    I think Zambia is not ready to have a female president because the bottom line is that women more often than not are their own enemies. I remember one time the late Gwendoline Konie contested the republican presidency, i think in 2006, and the women, who make up the largest population in Zambia, never voted for her, in a typical “pull her down” syndrome. Very few women would want fellow women to succeed. Its genetically inborn in them to behave this way, save for the mornachy (Queen Elizabeth, Chieftainess Nawaitwika, Chieftainess Nkomesha etc) becoz that is royalty and there is nothing women can do about it.

  33. vote

    Staunch Lozi @ 29 & 30, you sound like a finished record repeating the same chorus.
    How gratifying it would be if we all moved together as a one Zambia, one Nation popularised by those who were wise enough to fight for the freedom of our motherland, but indeed our real freedoom is in the redemption of our souls by God.

  34. vote

    #38 NAKULU —- Pliz don’t give this s.t.u.p.i.d STAUNCH LOZI any credence by paying attention to his psychotic rants. Just ignore him. Like money, even democracy can be abused. These are the i.d.i.o.ts who give dictators the justification to control the media in order to watch over psychos like this numskull STAUNCH LOZI. He is sick and I don’t know where he has come from all over a sudden to come and disturb everybody’s more sensible discussion of issues. I think he urinates on the bed at night when he is asleep. It’s only chaps who urinate in bed who behave like him. Every morning he wakes up there is a Zambezi in his bed.

  35. vote

    I am a woman and in waiting to be Head of State, but mean time Mrs S Masebo is a better candidate.

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