Chapter One Foundation and the Young Women in Action have officially complained against the Zambian government to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights over what it has termed as a lack of diversity in appointing people to public office.
Chapter One Foundation Executive Director Linda Kasonde says the move follows the Constitutional Court’s dismissal in August last year of a case in which the civil society organizations appealed against the lack of inclusivity in appointments of public office bearers.
On 18th August 2021, the constitutional court dismissed the petition by a majority judgment and found that the power of the president to appoint members of cabinet was discretionary.
Further, the court was of the view that the petitioners bore the burden of proving that it was practical to appoint an equal number of women and men, and an equitable number of youth and persons with disabilities and had failed to do so.
Addressing the media in Lusaka today, Ms. Kasonde says the situation regarding the lack of diversity in appointments to public office has 24 cabinet ministers, only 4 are women, none are youth, and none are persons with disabilities while only 1 woman is a provincial minister out of 10.
She says following the interpretation of the provisions of article 259 by the constitutional court, the current position of the law in zambia with regard to diversity in appointments to public office is in breach of Zambia’s treaty obligations under the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and the Maputo Protocol which guarantee non-discrimination and the rights of all persons to participate freely in the governance of their country.
Ms. Kasonde is hopeful that the communication to the African Commission will clarify the standards of compliance required by a member state to the two treaties as regards diversity in representation in public office.
Efforts to get chief government Spokesperson Chushi Kasanda on this development proved futile by broadcast time as her phone went unanswered.