THE Patriotic Front will pay nomination fees for popular women candidates who will be adopted on the party ticket, deputy secretary general Mumbi Phiri has said.
Mrs Phiri reiterated that the party will adopt at least 40 percent women and a good number of youths in a bid to increase female and young people’s participation in politics.
Speaking during a discussion forum organised by the Zambia National Women’s Lobby, ahead of International Women’s Day, Mrs Phiri said her party wants to cushion the challenges women politicians are likely to face ahead of the August 11 elections due to hiked nomination fees by the Electoral Commission of Zambia.
She said “the hiked nomination fees are likely to hamper women’s participation in politics, especially in this year’s elections.”
The Electoral Commission of Zambia recently announced an upward revision of presidential nomination fees from K10,000 to K75,000, while those for parliamentary candidates have been increased from K5,000 to K10,000.
And Alliance for Democracy and Development secretary general Mwangala Mbangweta reiterated calls to reduce nomination fees because of the potential to hamper women’s participation in this year’s elections.
Mrs Mbangweta also noted that the grade 12 qualification requirement will equally affect women as the educated ones are reluctant to join politics.
“We are likely to see many women councillors failing to retain their seats due to the grade 12 qualification requirement and hiked nomination fees,” she said.
And speaking at the same function, Transparency International Zambia executive director Lee Habasonda expressed concern over the time political parties conduct their planning and strategic meetings and its negative effect on women’s participation.
Mr Habasonda said most political parties conduct their strategic and planning meetings in the night and that most husbands cannot allow their wives to attend.
“We are appealing to political parties to desist from conducting their businesses in the night. Which man would allow his wife to attend a meeting in the night? Let us do the planning during the day,” he said.
Mr Habasonda has, however, commended the PF for their proposal to adopt more women and youth candidates in the forthcoming elections.
Meanwhile, PF vice-chairperson for elections Kelvin Bwalya has called on women countrywide to take advantage of the 40 percent reserved for them in the ruling party to seek elective office and occupy key decision-making positions in the country, MELODY MUPETA reports in Kitwe.
Mr Bwalya said in an interview in Kalulushi on Saturday that women play a vital role in national economic development and that the PF government wants to continue working with them in steering the country forward.
He said the ruling party has so far come up with various empowerment and sensitisation programmes to motivate women to actively take up leading roles.
Mr Bwalya said he remains committed to ensuring that more women are adopted to contest the parliamentary and mayoral seats in the August 11 general elections.
“Women have the ability to be leaders but they need to be encouraged and empowered, no wonder our Government is doing its best to see more women in leading roles,” he said.