President Edgar Lungu pose photo with NGOCC at State House
President Edgar Lungu pose photo with NGOCC at State House

President Edgar Lungu has met the board of the Non Governmental Coordinating Council (NGOCC) at State House in Lusaka today. The President and the NGOCC team discussed a wide range of issues.

The issues discussed included the challenges women face, gender equality, political violence, high cost of leaving and the amended constitution.

Below id the NGOCC Submission.

NGOCC GENDER SUBMISSIONS TO HIS EXCELLENCY PRESIDENT EDGAR LUNGU, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA, 8TH APRIL 2016

YOUR EXCELLENCY,

We are grateful for according us this opportunity to discuss with you some of the issues affecting the majority of women who have remained, to a considerable extent, sidelined from participating in, and benefiting from the various national development processes over the years. Despite the fact that the number of women is higher than men (constituting 52% of the total population), women have, over the past years, continued to face obstacles in fully participating in various local and national development processes and programs, and in the political process.

It is evident that society, due to entrenched patriarchy, still has a bias towards the male gender which continues to disproportionately access various services and benefits. Efforts to change the status of women in Zambia have continued to be frustrated by a number of legal impediments and inadequate political will. The effects of discrimination against women are exacerbated in a society suffering from major problems such as shortage of resources, poverty, inequalities in wealth and a high prevalence of HIV and AIDS.

Brief About NGOCC

The Non-Governmental Organizations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) is a body registered under the Societies Act, of the Laws of Zambia. NGOCC was established by a few Zambian women NGOs in 1985, after the United Nations’ World Conference on women held in Nairobi Kenya. The establishment of NGOCC was born out of the realization that the process of empowering women needed concerted efforts. Hence, NGOCC was born to facilitate networking at national, regional, and international levels in issues of Gender and development. Within its 30 years of existence, NGOCC has become recognized as the focal point of the women’s movement in Zambia and has a current membership of 104 both NGOs and Community based Organizations countrywide.

Guided by our vision of “A society where women fully participate and benefit from social, cultural, economic, and political development” NGOCC uniquely stands on its mission “To champion gender equality and equity through coordinated institutional and capacity development support to members, advocacy, and linkages with local and international partners. Over the years, NGOCC has been involved in advocacy work towards the achievement of its vision and objectives.

SOME OF THE CHALLENGES THAT WOMEN FACE

(A) Feminization of Poverty

The poverty rate for Zambia is over 60% with rural poverty at 78% and urban at 28%. Feminisation of poverty remains the broad characteristic of the Zambian poverty profile. Women’s poverty in peri-urban and rural areasis a major factor which contributes to their increased vulnerability to disease, lower food insecurity, lower levels of educational attainment and lower access to basic services.

(B) Maternal & Child Health

While recognizing the improvements in the maternal mortality rate, we realiase that the rate is still high at 591 out of 100, 000 live birthswhile the infant mortality rate is 70 per 1000 live births. Young women become mothers early with 35% of women giving birth before the age 18 putting them at high risk of maternal mortality.

(C) HIV & AIDS

In Zambia, of the more than 900, 000 people living with HIV, 57% are women. (LCM 2010). The incidence and prevalence of HIV and AIDS continues to affect women more than men. The prevalence rate for HIV and AIDS in Zambia is 14.3% and girls are being more infected than boys.

(D) Gender Based Violence

Zambia is an example of having enacted a comprehensive legislation aimed at combating and ending gender based violence at all levels. The Anti Gender Based Violence Act of 2011 provides for a number of progressive interventions that requires holistic approaches and the broad participation of citizens. We note the need to adequately resource the Zambia Police with logistical support, materials and human resource capacities to handle cases of GBV – this, by and large still remains a challenge. The role of traditional and community leaders is also a progressive step to ensure that GBV is fought right within the communities. The NGOCC network members, amid resource constraints, and working with other stakeholders, have continued to provide the needed community support and sensitization in this regard – leading to high numbers of reported cases generally.

YOUR EXCELLENCY,

As an organization concerned with contributing to a society where women participate and benefit fully from national development endeavors, we additionally have the following concerns:

(E) Constitution Making Process

Regarding the amended Constitution, as an organization we were opposed to the route the Government took to amend the constitution, because Zambia has never had a people driven constitution since Independence (1964), whereas the underlying principle of a constitution is that it is given by the people to the government, and not the other way round. After a thorough analysis of the final Draft Constitution, there are a number of positive provisions that we feel would have advanced the status of women, especially a system of proportional representation system to increase the proportion of women in parliament, and provincial assemblies to increase women’s participation in a more decentralized form of government.

In addition, we are opposed to the holding of the National Referendum together with the general elections on 11th August 2016. Holding the two important national processes together has the potential to create confusion amongst the voters. It would be appropriate to hold the National Referendum separately from the general elections. The National Referendum, like the constitution itself, must be above and separate from party politics. We are concerned that while there is agreement that a National Referendum must be held, there is little that is being done in preparation, such as civic education of the citizenry on the content of the Bill of Rights, and putting in placea legal framework and budgetary provision to enable the Referendum process. Instead political players seem preoccupied with the politicking that comes with the General Election.

(F) promoting gender equality in decision making

The women’s movement commends Your Excellency for your commitment towards the appointment of women in decision making, such as your appointment of the first woman Vice President, and your appointment of the second successive women as Chief Justice. We also commend your political party’s pronouncement to reserve a 40 percent quota for the adoption of women at Parliamentary and Local Government levels. However, we note that this quota should be 50 percent according to Zambia’s commitments under the 2008 SADC Gender Protocol. We further commend your declaring that you will adopt a woman as your running mate in the August 11 elections.

Currently there are only 13% women at parliamentary level, 23% at cabinet level and 6% at local government level. A number of reasons have been advanced for the low level participation of women in politics; however, one of the reasons has generally been the decision by political parties not to adopt women as candidates for elections.

As an organization, we have been instrumental and party to the formulation of the Gender Equity and Equality Act. We are glad that this Act has come to effect as it seeks to domesticate the various international and regional instruments and has the provisions for the establishment of a Gender Equality Commission. We also take cognizance of your directive to a Ministerial Committee to work on operationalizing this very important institution.As an organization we envisage a professional Commission and hope that men and women appointed to run this institution will have the needed skill and integrity. Working with the Ministry of Gender, NGOCC is available to make some propositions for your further consideration as you make the said appointments.

(G) Political violence

As a women’s movement, we are concerned with the high levels of political violence in the country that seem to be escalating. Political violence is one of the reasons why women stayed away from politics, and the present situation is worse than ever before. Women feel unsafe to participate in politics with the high incidences of political violence. The wearing of military regalia by party cadres is not only intimidating and frightening, but also contravenes the provisions of the Public Order Act.

(H) High Cost of Living

The women’s movement is also concerned with the high cost of living and especially with the recent price hike and shortage of mealie-meal in the country.According to the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR), Basic Needs Basket, the cost of a monthly food basket for a family of six is about K4, 300, which is beyond the reach of most families and is indicative of the prevalence of poverty and malnutrition. The high price of fuel and the shortage and electricity have served to worsen the problems women face in household financing and management.

YOUR EXCELLENCY,

In conclusion, the women’s movement demands the following:

1. Quick transition to prudent economic management and fiscal discipline to stabilize the economy and eliminate the looming economic shut-down and deaths from hunger.

2. Hold a Referendum separate from the General Election to ensure the approval and subsequent enactment of the expanded Bill of Rights, which is critical to the wellbeing of women, youths, people with disability, the elderly and the poor, and which outlaws discrimination and introduces Social, Economic and Cultural Rights.

3. Implement the resolutions of the recently held indaba with political party leaders in order to avoid incidences of political violence; implement of the provisions of the Public Order Act which precludes the wearing of military style uniforms by party cadres. The Head of State should return Zambia to its reputation as a peaceful country by ensuring free and fair elections.

4. Quick appointment and operationalization of the Gender Equity and Equality Commission, which we envisage to be a professional body comprising women and men of integrity to ensure that gender discrimination is eliminated from Zambian society.

5. As Head of State,encourage political parties to adopt a quota of 50 percent women amongst candidates for political office, and to adopt clear workable procedures to ensure this result. and the Constitutional provision for enacting a Political parties act;

6. Spearhead the enactment of the Political Parties Act as provided by the amended Republican Constitution that ensures a quota of 50 percent women representation in the political process.

7. Retable in parliament the following constitutional amendments to:
(i) Introduce Proportional Representation into the electoral system, as in the original Draft Constitution, in order to increase women’s participation in politics
(ii) Introduce Provincial Assemblies, as in the original Draft Constitution, in order to include women and men at grassroots level to participate in the affairs affecting their lives.

8. Whilst we appreciate the accelerated efforts and your personal involvement and commitment through the HeForShe Campaign, we call upon your Excellency to take a keen interest into what is happening and support other locally initiated campaigns such as the Good Husband Campaign, I Care About Her Campaign, among others. It is our expectation Sir, that the much awaited Gender Based Violence Fund and shelters, as provided for in the Act, will soon be operationalized and made accessible to support the many survivors of violence, who mostly are women and girls.

I thank you.

Yours In-the-Service of the nation,
for/NGOCC

Sara Hlupekile Longwe
CHAIRPERSON

President Edgar Lungu speaks to NGOCC member of board of trustee Dorothy Hamwele (c) and NGOCC chairperson Sarah Longwe at State House
President Edgar Lungu speaks to NGOCC member of board of trustee Dorothy Hamwele (c) and NGOCC chairperson Sarah Longwe at State House
President Edgar Lungu speaks to NGOCC member of board of trustee Dorothy Hamwele (c) and NGOCC chairperson Sarah Lungwe at State House
President Edgar Lungu speaks to NGOCC member of board of trustee Dorothy Hamwele (c) and NGOCC chairperson Sarah Longwe at State House
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34 COMMENTS

  1. My humble President is a listening President. We thank God for giving such a President and we know that you are not finished with your work in this country. NGOCC raised important issues and am sure by the wisdom vested in our President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, most issues if not all will be dealt with.

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    • Listening to RB, Mumbi, Kambwili and Frank Bwalya not the wise like people at BOZ and some well meaning opposition leaders.

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    • What went wrong, why is Edgar Lungu a president of Zambia? Look at him, look… What f**&^*k went wrong?

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    • Am sure this visit was after a lot of assurances that pf thugs won’t be around, otherwise these women would have been stripped naked for putting on NGOCC vitenges.

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    • In a meeting as this one, I expected a well-defined COMMUNIQUE drawn by both participants meaning a COMMUNIQUE on what was agreed between these women and Edgar Lungu. As it stands, its as good as having not met because there is no commitment at all especially from the President! Ma-rubbish of a meeting.

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    • Mr President, I urge you to issue to exercise your full constitutional mandate as Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces and Head of Police to order these men and women in Uniform to immediately WIPE the slate of violence clean and arrest, annihilate, subdue and neutralize these criminals and bandits masquerading as PF and UPND cadres . If you do this one thing, the whole of this nation, sub region and African will be indebted to you and you will secure your place in history.

      Your Excellency, you may not have done according to everyone’s expectations in the economy but this one act of courage and patriotism to the motherland will be akin to that immortalized act of Solomon who despite being wayward ended up killing all the philistines in one go and saved his people the…

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  2. So NGOCC shall be quiet now!!BRAVO ECL !!YOU ARE INDEED A HUMBLE AND LISTENING PRESIDENT!!IFINTU NI LUNGU-2016!!

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  3. None of the NGOCC ladies looks like they are starving. They are all well rounded. They are eating the money meant for the poor.

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  4. Has someone told this dull president that the Norwergian embassy has been closed due to a failure by dull Lungu and anything PF to manage the country’s resources and too much corruption?? PF and its supporters are stp!d !diots. Thats a fact.

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  5. @Dudelove, the Norwegians are suffering from the same syndrome that Zambia is facing, world economic meltdown. They have a right to take any steps that their government needs to take in order to fit their budget. It is not something that Zambians should spend sleepless nights over, unless you are UPND where every issue is about crying Lungu this, Lungu that, even though you can see what challenges face the country. Including blaming Lungu for poor rains and just about anything to the extent UPND now sounds like a party of jokers!
    The Norwegian Ambassador even mentioned the low level fight against corruption in Zambia, and he has seen that UPND will continue to practice corruption on an even much greater scale than ever before because of HH embracing corrupt elements who now literally…

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  6. The Norwegian Ambassador even mentioned the low level fight against corruption in Zambia, and he has seen that UPND will continue to practice corruption on an even much greater scale than ever before because of HH embracing corrupt elements who now literally control party policy. Remember that the Ambassador attended the luncheon hosted by HH where he met the corrupt characters surrounding HH face to face. Another thing that you have deliberately forgotten to mention: the Ambassador actually bemourned Zambia as a country where Norway has spent lots of money to help fight poverty and yet he sees that Zambia has rich people who can host luncheons for wealthy diplomats and yet the same rich rich Zambians can actually help their poor citizens without foreign help. In short, the Norwegian…

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    • I’ve never read a load of empty words. This is interesting. It is like listening to my 5 year old daughter when she was 4.

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  7. In short, the Norwegian diplomat was asking us why Norway should spend on poor Zambians while rich Zambians like HH host expensive luncheons for diplomats with rounded tummies and oily smiles. Look Mr Dudelove, I hope that you now see the real meaning of the Ambassador’s comments.
    So tell HH to think about what he says or does because and words convey different meanings to foreign diplomats as you yourself have seen from this. Tell him to stop ukubwata bwata, because he is not a real politician, or he is an educated illiterate or he has the reasoning of an underfive or a grade twelve carrying an economics degree.

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  8. Why is no one talking about how broad the coming elections will be? We will be voting for a president, an MP, a mayor/Council Chairman, councillors & the referendum. Then there is a possibility of a rerun, is it 90 days later? This has potential to confuse some of our citizens.
    When ECZ does start voter education to make people understand all this.

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    • You are right. Everyone is just talking about the Chipumputu man Kachema boy. All other positions are overshadowed. We Zambians overpower the presidents.
      Sad

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  9. Comment: can someone help the plight of medical personel who are been opressed by Health professionals council of zambia. Payments have been made but they are delaying to give the licences. They increased fees by 250% and still can not provide the liceneces. They can not even provide a notice to say when they can be ready. Inside info suggests misapropriation of funds. Please some help

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  10. Even when posing he looks clueless,visionless,useless,hopeless,brainless and drunk how do you put on brown shoes on that suit,him everything seems to be failing him only bars and tarvens suits him.

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  11. 2020vision reporting..well it is true Gender equality is something we need to work on but no other govt apart from the PF has done so much to empower women, when have we ever had a woman Veep? Also the number of female Mps have never been this high, PF haveing more female representation in Parley shows the commitment to empowering women! Where on earth do you think the Hungry Hyena and co will do the same? Never! It is not in the DNA of some of these chaps to treat women with respect because they were brough up to mistreat women which is sad and something the nation needs to know.
    2016 ECL nafuti

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  12. On the issue of Economic Challenges: the whole world is experiencing an economic downturn but we expect the kwacha to gain on the dollar soon it will reach between 8 and 9 to the US dollar, mealie prices will drastically drop by almost over a quarter to a half of the current prices, we can expect more jobs in the mining sector soon thanks to a USD1 billion investment by Glencore, increased investment in agriculture, manufacturing is expected, as such we inturn expect the inflation rate to return to single digits by the end of the year. ECL is on the job fellow Zedians..we are getting it again in style..
    2016 ECL nafuti

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    • All of your economic predictions may come true and we do not refute that. What people are saying is that ECL government must do something to stimulate growth not waiting for nature to take its course. Companies and people see the potential Zambia has and the investment conditions created under the LPM administration are surely working.

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  13. I said it before, but now I see that even the NGOCC agree with me that a referendum will not benefit from holding it together with the general election, it will just be a sacrificial lamb a by the way despite its huge importance to Zambia.
    I take comfort that our beLoved listening President His Excellency Edgar Chagwa has decided to take the matter up with the elections commission. Run with it Edgar, you have the NGOCC behind you, no one in their right minds will stand in your correct decisions doing what the women have correctly asked for. I was impressed with the genuine love for Edgar that the women could not hide. HH must envy this! On his part he is busy recruiting corrupt nonentities into his party, when he is not doing that he is busy giving lunch to unappreciateve western…

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  14. Chishimba boyi, balelanda fye ifilanda ba opposition. Tell them that GBV, gender inequality, political violence high cost of living, etc. are globo.

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  15. Nb -take note of everything but be sensitive when hanbdling them ecl
    -refrendum, Provincial assemblies
    Govt said it has no money why cant these women just say we have brought money for these issues then blame him later
    -most issues lacked merit bcos they had no proposals and solutions.
    #A good advice comes with good proposals without that its negative and opposition met to give you impossibilities and blame you later
    Yes some but to do with constitution not this time wait when econiny improve unless a good samaritan like them cash then refrerendum can doe separately
    ? Mark put on the visit.

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  16. People sit for up to 6 subjects in grade 12 and they don’t get confused. How then do you get lost because of referendum in the elections? Our females want to receive rather than “fight”for the goodies. All they are looking for are monies from sponsors so they ca chew.

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  17. BaLungu, think about kaseba it is not about winning but doing what is right. look at what Mandela did to samora’s wife, DR Kaseba was wrong and may not realiz that but think about her as your running mate. Bembas say umuntu nga lelila tabamuceba pakanwa. She did what she did because of the death of the husband. We have elders like KK they can help. DR kaseba, do not take your children to HH leaving their father’s party.

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  18. I will be shocked if dr kaseba accepted to be hh ‘s runnuing mate.
    This conman was wishing sata death and died with insults from upnd mps and hh.how many times did they say sata is dead ,dont u think this killed him? Kaseba pf is still yo baby just wait God’s time is the best.

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