Saturday, June 22, 2024

Grade 12 Clause will discriminate against women-Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika


 Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika
Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika

FORMER Zambian ambassador to the United States of America Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika has said that the introduction of the Grade 12 requirement clause in the amended national Constitution will work against women participation in the forth-coming general and presidential elections.

Clause 162 of the amended Constitution states that a person qualifies to be elected as a councillor or MP if that person is not less than 19 years of age and has obtained a minimum academic qualification of a Grade 12 certificate or its equivalent.

Dr Lewanika said in an interview in Lusaka that many women in Zambia were left out of school, especially in rural areas from Grade 4 to University entrance.

She said women have been staying at home taking care of families and fearing to neglect them, so the clause to bar them from standing due to not having attained Grade 12 will be unfair.

“The first administration did very well and ensured more and more women were educated, but now, most women are staying home to avoid neglecting their families so they do not get to reach Grade 12,” she said.

She called on Government to consider the General Education Development (GED) test qualification as equivalent to the Grade 12 certification to ensure more women participate in elections.

Dr Lewanika explained that the political field, education and income problems always worked against the women during elections.

She said Government should start with ensuring that the education curriculum is regionalised and made more practical to accommodate people from all areas of society.

“Start with education and make sure that enterprise is promoted, God made each one of us differently,” she said.

Women in Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) coordinator and Gender activist Gladys Mutukwa said that the political field was currently not level for the women and the Grade 12 requirement for candidacy would make it difficult for the women to participate.

“How are we going to balance the leadership of the country because there are not enough women in Grade 12,” she said.

She said the clause was discriminatory and gender blind. Mrs Mutukwa called for the Proportional Representation system of Government, saying that would ensure equal representation of all sections of society.

“We need the Government to build capacity for women and then assist expose them to leadership skills,” she said.

She said it was important to realise that there was no part of humanity that could go far without the other, hence the importance to incorporate women in the development agenda.


  1. Again, not to sound as a broken record, we ask: Where were you when the President Edgar Chagwa Lungu was on record repeatedly telling you to study the draft constitution? Busy just insulting him? And now he is telling you to read the Bill of Rights and you and busy parroting about grade 12 clause which is water under the bridge, and when the bill of rights pass you will start the same noise.

    No Change to the constitution whatever the consequences, at least for now. It will teach us Zambians to learn to ready and study things before we rush to just insult our leaders.

    This is 2016 and I don’t think there is a ward in Zambia today without a woman with a G12 certificate

    • The Problem here is a lot of people are just selfish. Those who feel entitled to leadership of the country just don’t have the grade 12 certificate. Most of these people making noise about G12 certificate are either speaking for themselves or their relatives. Can these people show us data from the Examination council of Zambia that there are districts in Zambia that have never produced a woman with a G12 certificate

    • Bo Inonge
      Not only women but also men and the entire citizens.
      PF MPs in govt blindly voted for G12 clause alluding to fix the oppositions, but alas, PF is visionless.
      There is NO free education in Zambia, therefore the G12 clause is biased & useless. Problem is PF, they NEVER heed to advise.
      2 months left for PF to vanish.
      Viva HH & UPND.
      The Skeleton Key

    • We have had too many old uneducated people in Parliament who do not understand ,can not read and interpret policies in Parliament.Leave the Grade 12 clause so the young and educated have a chance to lead this nation…Besides we don’t need more women like Libongani in the corridors of power….You were all saying people driven bla bla when Miyanda was telling Lungu not to rush signing the Bill now who has the last laugh?

    • WHo is she heard of her

      African Doctor is not the same as British Doctor

      he just wants attention although her points are valid and sense

      Let her go aay as I dont know her

      What we need is Miles Sampa to take us to the promised land.


    • Those without grade 12 certificate(this includes retired standard 6 people, all policemen and soldiers) should not be allowed to vote because they do not understand the process, fool stop!

    • First thing first, Mushota please you would never compare with Bo Mbikusita Lewanika in a million years. This woman has accumulated every degree you could think of from prestigious universities in Britain and US so please give her the respect she deserves.

      Having said that I don’t agree with Bo Lewanika on this one. There are so many things that disadvantage women, none of them come close to this clause. First of all, could she please tell us where a Grade 4 dropout would find the high nomination fees slapped by ECZ? How will she go and debate in Parliament in English if she hasn’t been to school?

      What she needs to be advocating for is ensure basic education is available and accessible to all so that everyone has the opportunity to reach Grade 12… make education…

    • continued

      … make education universal, perhaps free to everyone is money is a discriminator.

      By the way what about 19 years minimum age being discriminatory? Voting is 18 years so why not qualify to stand as an MP?

      By the way I have never known or heard of any councilor or MP (woman or man) who has never attained a minimum qualification of year 12. Can the people who are arguing against this clause point to a successful story of a woman who has never been to school or never reached year who went ahead to become a very successful MP or councilor? Yapping from without won’t cut it. On the other hand, there are so many success stories of those who attained year 12 or higher… Bo Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika is such example.

    • @Skeleton: Do you have a memory of a chicken or what? If you do don’t think we all do, alright!
      How is this clause a creation of PF when it is UPND who insisted earlier on that it should stay in the Draft Constitution? All in the hope of FIXING SATA. If you forget easily, well, plenty of us still remember the era, the atmosphere, and the arguments under which this clause came to be. I remember quite vividly on this same forum ( the arguments and debate surrounding this very clause only a few years ago. And it was, as usual, UPND sycophants on here who insisted, insulted (like you always do) and called everybody who disagreed with this idea “DULL”. Are you telling me you have already forgotten that @Skeleton? Or you have simply conveniently developed selective amnesia!

    • continue…

      You are the same people who called Sata a “standard fimo fimo” who had no business in State House as President. This is the same era in which UPND folks loved to loudly boast about how educated they were compared to so called “kaponyas” in PF. Remember that @Skeleton? I am sure you do because you have been around on these blogs long enough. So don’t pretend and act as though this clause has no history to it. You thought including the “grade 12 requirement” was such a good idea. In fact, I remember many of you in UPND calling for a DEGREE as minimum requirement instead of G12.

    • continue…

      In your warped and narrow minded way of thinking, you thought this would work to the advantage of UPND by exclude most potential candidates (including Sata) in PF and elevate HH’s chances. If not right away, at least it would bar Sata from running for his second term. This was the thinking in UPND at the time. And “fortunately” for you, death did the work for you in terms of Sata. You couldn’t even wait to start the campaigns for the presidential by-election. And now you want to act as though we are all f00ls who forget that easily, and we all should believe this all issue is PF’s fault, right? WOW!

    • continue…

      I remember even The Post newspaper doing a story about the DEGREE issue detailing who has what qualification in Parliament—all because of the ridiculous noise UPND made about this. We know UPND cadres are expert flip-floppers, but don’t freaking lie!

      By the way PF is only but a fraction of what makes up members of Parliament, if you (UPND) knew that this was a bad clause why didn’t you raise a stink about it? Because no UPND MP, or any other opposition MP for that matter, is on record objecting to this particular clause. Except UPND trying to torpedo the entire amendment process. Were UPND MPs too busy guzzling Whisky and dozing in Parliament?

    • This is why our country is so docile and useless. People who are very educated like this woman condone the nonsense going on right now. Surely any educated person would surmise that the clause is required. Why? Because our un-educated politicians did not read the draft bill. No critical thinking on their part to resolve the differences in the constitution. Instead they rushed it and our dear leader in front of a stadium full of people signed it. If a security guard is required to have a Grade 12 why not our members of parliament?? This debacle in itself is proof that politicians need to be educated.


    • Bo Inonge ur totally off mark! Yet Ur educated in 60s but continued to add Degrees up2 80s cos ur were privileged & determined. Problem of getting educated in piecemeal-Cert&Dip @Hone, then deg by long dist & finally PHD in america. Warped reasoning.
      If this clause was in 1991 at the dawn of multipartism yes! Not now with liberalization. There are many community & secondary schools & mushrooming universities incl Copperstone. No one wud scorn u if u advocated G12 clause cos u cud argue there now more schools allover than in 60s when few of u got educated! A degree clause yes wud be bad for Councillors but good for MP/Pres. There is no ward in Zambia that doesn’t hav G12 holders loafing or working for private org? Even remote places like shangombo hav G12s.
      G12 is standard…

    • G12 is standard requirement for all jobs (Guards, F/attendants & even GMs, DGs, CEOs) regardless of gender even in villages? So how many females are disadvantaged then?

    • By the way thanks to Gen G Miyanda when he was Education Minister 1997-2001.
      He allowed girl children to return to scholl after pregnancy. So many including my own sister have gone back to school & attained G12 certificates. In fact when we say G12 certificate if one understands it doesn’t matter whether its GCE (=6 subjects for brainy people like us) passed.

    • By the way thanks to Gen G Miyanda when he was Education Minister 1997-2001.
      He allowed girl children to return to scholl after pregnancy. So many including my own sister have gone back to school & attained G12 certificates. In fact when we say G12 certificate if one understands it doesn’t matter whether its GCE (=6 subjects for brainy people like us) passed.

    • Cor.Ver
      By the way thanks to Gen G Miyanda when he was Education Minister 1997-2001.
      He allowed girl children to return to school after pregnancy. So many including my own sister have gone back to school & attained G12 certificates. In fact when we say G12 certificate if one understands it doesn’t matter whether its GCE i.e =6 subjects for brainy people like us, passed.

  2. Madam, one would think you being educated, you would embrace the grade 12 clause, this clause marks the new beginning of zambian politics, this is actually a wake up call to those aspiring political leaders. Zambian people like to look at issues in short term, they should start looking at things in long term, this same clause that is raising so much dust now, people in the next 15 to 20 year’s well be appreciating Edgar lungu for having had signed it. All this old men and women who are opposing it now, it’s time for you old people to move on, time for you to make decisions for the zambian people is way gone. It’s time for the young generation to come in with fresh ideas. The zambian people are tired of hearing the same family names who have been there since Kingdom come such that even…

  3. Don’t listen to these cartelists and suspected cartelists. Their singular and paramount intension is to create despondency and lethargy among the people.


  5. This just exposes that the leaders we have don’t know what they are doing! They assent to something and after its made into law of the land they in retrospect want correction. This has been passed just as water passing under a bridge it won’t flow backwards! I am disappointed in Ma Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika for being among the earliest educated women in Zambia she should have been in the forefront advocating and driving education for the girl child. Zambia, as Kambwili likes comparisons, must take a regional assessment of itself against her neighbors on education levels especially Malawi and Zimbabwe having belonged to the same federation! We can’t continue protecting lack of effort to get an education despite challenges! Grade 12 clause is even a joke for we should have been talking…

  6. we should have made education accessible to all first, then introduce this clause. Perhaps central statistics office should do a survey and find out how our literacy levels are. This will then be used to support our arguements. Maybe it could be the reason why pipo never read the draft constitution

  7. contd…… about post-Grade 12 qualification not merely a Grade 12 certificate! This debate needs to be curtailed to let the Constitutional Court make the interpretation!

  8. Please, NAPAPATA don’t entertainment such RETOGRESIVE APPEALS BA KATEKA and God richly Bless you for signing off the document . No wonder it will take time for us a nation to progress. Those who want to be politicians should learn from now onwards that they need minimum education which is GRADE 12.

  9. G12 is a practical way of empowering youths to take up leadership. This will naturally and systematically eliminate the retarded old folks from just sitting in the chambers farting without coming up with any logic issues. We need to move on as country. I expect the next full to talk about G12 should say let there be a deliberate policy to upgrade every to G12. I expect someone to push for supplementary exams to be conducted in April for a period of 2years just to upgrade those who were unprivileged.

  10. Lets face the bitter reality. Why should we mutilate the constitution to serve our selfish desires just a month after it’s implementation? If Zambians succumb to pressure and alter the compulsory grade 12 clause, then they will create a leeway for anyone to agitate for change on any clause to serve their personal interest thereby turning the implementation of the new constitution an exercise in futility. Lets stay adamant.

    • I am with you Man Kenya, we stubbornly insist and demand that the new grade 12 qualification for councillors and MPs stays as part of the newly enacted consititution of Zambia. Too late Ma Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika.

  11. Bo Mukwae…When the draft Constitution was finalized by the Technical Committee, Zambians were told to study it and make further Contributions on it’s Contents including the same village women you are talking about.Why do you want to encourage Laziness in this country.The Grade Twelve qualification clause is a step in the right direction, this is going to also be part of youth participation in the Leadership of this country.There are a lot of young Girls in the villages who have the Grade twelve Certificates. It’s not true that women in the villages will be marginalized by this clause, You as our Parents have your part in the Leadership of this country hence its time the youth took an active role in the Leadership of this COUNTRY….VIVA GRADE TWELVE!VIVA MP!VIVA COUNCILOR!

    • Wadada, I completely agree with you. If anybody cared to visit the so called rural areas, look at the number of teachers, nurses, clinical officers, policemen, civil servants and not forgetting the army of unemployed youths, quite a good number of these have Grade 12 certificates. Lets move on with this progressive new clause. Some of these complainants have a few disadvantaged people in mind. Ask them to rewrite G12 kabili.


  13. A TIRED and finished politician. By the way please settle your water bills at Mulungushi village then come and yap about Grade 12 and girl child…this is the 21st century for heavens sake we are going on with the clause come rain come sun its a done deal

    • @emerson Ouch! That is definitely below the belt! You must have some inside information. You will be prosecuted once you are found out!

    • Learn to discuss issues, and not personal attack. I think there is need for you to take a course in critic al thinking order to learn argumentation

  14. And who ever said an adult cannot go back to school and obtain a G12 qualification if they really want it? Please let’s be progressive and not retrogressive!

  15. Some times it’s better to keep your mouth tightly shut and be thought of as wise than open it and exhibit idiocy! You would think she would encourage that and perhaps demand that the minimum qualification be at least a university degree for those aspiring for higher office. But no, she comes with up with ideas straight from the neanderthal era, ideas that have kept Zambia in perpetual bondage to poverty and ignorance. One would think that education equips a person with greater capacity to perform their functions very well, but here she is insisting we stick to mediocrity and produce thug leaders like Sata and Kambwili.

  16. I don’t believe for one moment that there are very few women with G12 in Zambia! What with all the girls schools scattered all over the country. In 1964 when we only had Chipembi, Maramba, St Monicas and Chivuna,maybe but not now! Almost every district has an all girls school if not two! Just in Kitwe we have Hellen, Mindolo girls and Chibote! Come on Lady MPs

  17. I find it nonsensical For an a Dr to be Advocating for laziness. I thought this was the right time for her to be telling women to start bettering their qualifications and prepare for 2021. Give chance to young educated women, they are plenty of them. why is she only looking at her old friends? That’s the problem of being a cadre, you don’t think correctly even when you are a Dr.

    • @shooterz. She has been forgotten and wants to come back now that the elections are here. What better way than to say just anything without thinking. Madam, retire. There are far more educated women than you think. The fact that they do not want to participate in politics is another issue.

  18. It is not like the Grade 12 certificate is no longer offered. This qualification is still available, let us not encourage laziness of the mind. These days I’m seeing a number of adults enrolling into secondary schools to acquire grade 12 school certificates so why can’t these others also enroll now and run for political office later when their perceptive abilities have been developed a step further.

  19. Law making requires that one attains a certain level of education to understand bills. Ruling a country demands that one must understand the constitution, and that needs a certain level of education. The reason some bills pass through parliament unchallenged is because the bills are determined by party leaders, and not the MP’s sense of reason. If presidents will always need legal advisors to guide them on each and every common sense matter, then it justifies the need to have educated presidents to minimise redundances.

  20. Grade 12 clause and the charges for candidates are just fine. We should allow the president to appear as though he does not know what he is doing. We have a lot of educated people in town and rural areas. Money is also plenty in the rural areas. We have to move forward. We must value education and the spirit to serve and make money. There is no law which is discriminatory. Even in the bible it is stated that the poor we shall have. No system anywhere will support every need. We need the best.

  21. Guys there will be exams in June, 2016 those who dont poses the grade 12 certificate have a chance

  22. This is what happens when you have a Constitution not enacted by referendum… it can be changed at will and I suspect a lot of clauses will go away from this amended constitution, especially if PF retains power. a Referendum passed constitution is difficult to change as you will probably require another referendum or at worst 2/3 majority.

    Also it’s not like every Zambian will have an opportunity to become an MP or councilor, we are making this sound like it’s a basic human right or something. Just like not everyone can be a President or a doctor or any other job that needs a qualification, I actually think a Grade 12 minimum is just right. There are so many unemployed Grade 12 women and men in Zambia.

  23. Just last week the minister of education announced grade 12 results for those who sat in 2015. Thousands of girls attained certificates! Let them stand… we have enough girls to stand Bo Inonge! Chishimba Kambwili how did copperstone accept a you!


  25. An uneducated nation is a danger to itself and the world at large.Why should people who have not attained academic papers be policy makers?We need to inculcate the values of knowing the benefits of education.A nation that is well informed will articulate issues from a point of knowledge.Grade 12 is merely a basic grade that one can attain. It has started losing value because most of the citizenry have reach the same grade.
    We need to think beyond grade 12 for us to achieve the best for our nation.That is why we have remained on the same level in terms of skill development because we like being in a status quo. We need to advance as a nation and think beyond grade 12.

  26. What is ironic about all this is that the people complaining about this clause are the people from our parents generation yet Zambia’s population consists of majority youth who are educated to Grade 12 level…here you have these people who want to be leaders and lead when the lack minimum qualifications; these are the selfsame people who are appointed deputy ministers of education. Please just lobby the gov’t to invest more in night school its never too late to learn…this why you never read the draft as there are too many empty tins wasting taxpayers money in National Assembly at Parliament Motel.

  27. Are we simply saying that its fine for our Women not to aspire for greater heights? People, its for all of us to ensure that we sit down our sisters and nieces and ensure that they aim high in life and not think of Marriage (which requires no G12) as the ultimate of their life. let the G12 clause stay.

  28. That is a lie.
    We have innumerable grade twelve certificate holders in addition to thousands of college and university graduate citizens.
    Your only issue is that the people with qualifications are not your current political office holders.

    The clause is good for Zambia as it will help to introduce new faces of politicians and new progressive politics.

    Keep the Constitution!

  29. I can believe that people think it not practical to have such clause, then what’s the point of education in Zambia? I can’t believe your comments guys, wake up! I thought Zambian’s value education. No wonder your president closed the universities.

    Learn from other developed nations. Donations from the western countries won’t develop your country used you brain and vote for people who will lead the nation and not steal even the little you have.

  30. I thought G12 certificate was a standard requirement for employment in Zambia, even as a Watchman or Driver, in many cases you are required to have completed G12 at minimal. Why should this be an exemption for Councilors or MPs ? An MP who will be involved in debates and review of laws does not need G12, serious? This is a joke !!! And how does that discriminate women? So we need to have a bunch of uneducated MPs making decisions for the country, honestly?
    We don t need to go far back in our memories, the result is that many of those current MP without G12 never read the Constitution and they are the first ones making noise now, having been told about the existence of such a clause.
    A Constitution is not something that should be subject to changes at will to satisfy ego of some people…

  31. ….Cont`d
    A Constitution is not something that should be subject to changes at will to satisfy ego of some people who want to be in power. We need to value our Constitution.
    ZAMBIANS WAKE-UP, Value your Constitution and DON T vote for those advocating for its amendment, for they are just seeking cheap political points. Amendment / Change of constitution now should not be a topic of discussion at all.

  32. EL is already politically fragile & hence his latest moves to bring in MMD on his side. It would political suicide for him to allow any debates or amendments to the recently signed constitution. He would lose even more voters from his own PF.

  33. Reminds of old days debate class in G12, when you don’t know youjust say I concur with you, bet tthat’s going on in Parliament. Damn wwhat a waste of ttaxpayers money

  34. I remember when I was getting employed,the first paper the panelists asked me was a grade 12.Even when you have flushy qualification,the employer would want to know if you have School Cetificate.That is when you will produce additional papers as prereliquisites for the job you are being interviewed for.
    Moreover,a curriculum vitae minus a School Certificate is incomplete.Grade 12 is a minimum entry for every job that you apply for.It will be folly and a mockery to education if we continue recruiting policy makers on shody educational background.Let those who are vying as policy makers be educated even beyond grade 12.Law making is a serious business not for jokers.

  35. In Kampala of Uganda in the year 2000, there was a rich business man (One of the richest in Uganda) who could not stand as a Mayor of Kampala because the minimum academic qualification was a diploma. He was so angry that he went to the UK to pursue a DIPLOMA IN MANAGEMENT STUDIES for 3 years. Upon successful completion he went back to Kampala, stood and won for the next two terms. Bane, the Ministry of education has opened so many tuition centres where we are pursuing shibukeni. Ine nintampilako limo just come and join. By 2021 \i will have completed my grade 12 while you are wasting time debating. Grade 12 is a good thing.

  36. You so called NGOs you are not fair-MA RUBBISH. When the clause was put by your fellow NGOS committees you did not talk about it now that it is law people start making noise NO. We very educated women in Zambia. Dont speak to protect you uneducated sister please. Mr President we dont
    re-amendment constitution laws

  37. Kambwili presumably has a Grade 12 Certificate. Is he a good leader? Leadership is God given, if you are born a nincompoop like Kambwili, even a fake degree from Copperstone University won’t do you any good. Let anyone who can read and write be eligible for public office

  38. I have a problem with this so called former Ambassador to USA. In 2001 forced herself and scrupulously stood on Agenda for Zambia just to split votes for UPND in Western Province. She only campaigned in one province and used propaganda. She benefitted by being the first one the same title & appointment from LPM. She was the first one to declare 2001 elections free and fair. Using her own principles I dont take her serious but an attention seeker, greed and treacherous may be even ready to betray her people due to 30 pieces of silver. Mama are you in good books with Saki, Bob etc?

  39. People please even a security guard needs a grade 12 certificate. Now you want people making laws for our country to be grade ones? All these characters complaining should focus on ensuring the education system is improved and accommodates as many people as possible not pushing for illiterates to run the country. Which business would hire someone without papers apart from a maid and the gardener. This is reality, just ensure people go to school. Every year we have tens of thousands of Grade 12s leaving schools let them take up the positions.

  40. For the first time common cadres on the blog are speaking the same language. This sshow tthat tthe woman is wrong

  41. There is no discrimination in the G12 requirement because everybody is free or has the opportunity to pursue G12 certificate. Beware – People without G12 want to stay in government jobs forever or at all costs because they do not qualify for basic jobs in the private sector. People need to be given an incentive to educate themselves for the future not the past. Setting a higher standard does not translate to discrimination. If you are not chosen to be a goalkeeper because you do not have the skills it is not discrimination. Just go find another position for which your talent will fit. Why are we entertaining this stupidity? This Inonge woman was ambassador??? Oh my GOD. She went to the USA and came back with e same ignorance as when she went?

  42. no madame the grade 12 issue must remain. Look at what is happening in our country where any uneducated person with a big mouth is allowed to be a leader. 51 years after independence and we cannot progress because our leaders do not fit into today s world. Why do we send our children to school and insist that they finish if we r going to allow semi or illerated to govern us?

    Reminder This Is People Driven Amendment Not Politician Driven Like U Want Sorry This Is What People No One Shud Change This.

  44. In fact I wish the bar can be raised to a minimum of diploma holder at all levels.

    Grade 12 surly is attainable by any person regardless the mental status of that given individual.

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