The Non-Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) demanded for gender balancing and equality for the Presidential candidates and the running mate.
NGOCC Executive Director Engwase Mwale said the women of Zambia want to see a situation where if the Presidential candidate is male, the running mate must be a woman and vise-versa.
Mrs. Mwale noted that despite the fact that the number of women is higher than men (constituting about 51%), they have, over the past years, continued to face challenges in fully participating in various local and national development processes and programs.
She said it is evident that society still has a bias towards the male gender which continues to disproportionately impact on women’s access to various services and benefits.
Mrs. Mwale said it is unacceptable that 51 years after independence, the participation of women in politics has remained low both at Parliamentary and Local Government levels.
She said it is saddening that while political parties have made some cosmetic pronouncements about adopting more women, there is a general lack of concrete measures by most of these parties to enhance women’s participation at Parliamentary and local government levels.
“We also note that the newly amended Constitution in its preamble, confirms “the equal worth of women and men and their right to freely participate in, determine and build a sustainable political, legal, economic and social order.” NGOCC therefore demands that all political parties mainstream gender equality and equity by adopting equal numbers of both men and women and youth as Parliamentary and local Government candidates,” she said.
“We also further demand for gender balancing and equality for the Presidential candidates and the running mate. Article 110 (1) provides that there shall be a Vice-President for the Republic who shall be the running mate to a presidential candidate in a presidential election. As the women of Zambia, we want to see a situation where if the Presidential candidate is male, the running mate MUST be a woman and vis-versa. As we have always stated, Zambia will only achieve socio economic development if both men and women work together.”
She said the 2016 elections present the perfect opportunity to remedy the gender imbalances concerning the exclusion of women’s participation in politics.
“We hope all Political Parties will take advantage of this opportunity and adopt more women aspirants, more so on the highest positions of President and Vice President. We urge all Zambians, especially women voters to critically scrutinize all the political parties carefully before August 11 to ensure they are promoting the inclusion of women aspirants at local government, parliamentary and where possible, at Presidential level.”
Mrs. Mwale said Zambians should only support a political party that will guarantee “a society where women will fully participate and benefit from the social, cultural, economic and political development of our country.