National Democratic Congress (NDC) President Saboi Imboela has written to Republican President Hakainde Hichilema to complain over alleged blatant disrespect for women by people serving in the New Dawn government and UPND cadres.
Immediate past State House Photographer and UPND supporter Chellah Tukuta this week issued negative remarks against Ms. Imboela that borders on sexual harassment.
Mr. Tukuta was responding to Ms. Imboela’s remarks against him suggesting that President Hichilema recently transferred the photographer from State House to the Embassy in Brazil because of making homophobic remarks relating to the recently held controversial Lusaka July.
“An elderly woman like you is embarrassing the University of Zambia with your kind of reasoning and makes us wonder if there’s another UNZA because most UNZA graduates are so intelligent and their reasoning top class. If you want me kulandafye not passing mumbali.The way you are doing politics is dangerous and I feel pity you won’t go anywhere with that approach. Whenever you dream ghosts on top….You suddenly begin to act very strange maybe you need a man in flesh to service your needs otherwise mwalapena,” Mr. Tukuta told Ms. Imboela in a Facebook post.
In a letter to President Hichilema which has also been copied to the international community, Ms. Imboela said she has a right to provide checks and balances without being insulted by UPND leaders.
Ms. Imboela said the trend of insulting female opposition political party leaders by the UPND is worsening.
“The UPND has been in office for a year now and while there are a few areas were your party has scored, the issues of gender, women and blatant disrespect of women by your officials, UPND cadres and people that surround you is becoming a huge source of concern. As a member of the opposition and a President of a political party for that matter, I have a Right to provide checks and balances in whatever way I see fit, without being insulted by your party leaders. The UPND is not the first party to be in office and there were no insults like this from all your predecessors, at least not to this extent.I wonder why criticisms by female leaders are said to be due to sexual starvation by your party members and yet we do not hear them say the same about the men. We never say that men are making bad political decisions due to impotence, low libido, homosexuality and other staff,but stick to politics and not deteriorate the political discourse to assume bedroom issues of male leaders, as they do with women,” Ms. Imboela wrote.
She charged that insults being targeted at female opposition political party leaders by the UPND seem to have government blessings.
“So I urge you, Mr. President, to bring sanity to our politics because if we hit back, the Zambian political discourse will be filled with bedroom assumptions and not real issues, like we see in other countries. Or as it was before your party ascended to power. I write this letter to bring to your attention the latest insults that one of your appointees has written against me. Kindly find enclosed my article on Chellah Tukuta’s diplomatic appointment and his response on the same. I know that anyone who insults in your name or is a UPND supporter has immunity for such despicable behavior, but I want to put it on record that these are the kinds of insults that most of your officials hurl at women just in case you never see them. These are people that are working for you and supported by you, all because the insults are against the opposition, they seem to have government blessings,” Ms. Imboela stated.
She continued:”I have also copied the international community so that they know what is going on in the Country and the levels of abuse that women are undergoing under your watch, by people that are so close to you. And also the same way we run to the IMF and other institutions for our economic decisions, maybe politically we are also unable to govern ourselves with civility.For this reason, I call upon your office, the international community and all well meaning Zambians to help stop this kind of discourse because when it deteriorates further, no one will be spared. Even the Sedition law will not work for you as President because you will not manage to jail everyone and people will begin to insult you without defaming you.”
Ms. Imboela said insulting female opposition political party leaders by the UPND is totally unacceptable and has to stop.
“Your people and probably even you,justify that it is in order to attack and insult the female opposition leaders like that. Any political comment we make ends up in our bedrooms and you are watching that. That is totally unacceptable and has to be brought to a stop,otherwise no one’s bedroom will be safe. We criticize you and your government based on the policies, pronouncements and decisions you make. We also always try to go beyond the reasons you give to the public and analyse, as well as give the public the reasons we feel you make certain decisions. You were in the opposition for a long time sir, you know how this works.So to always receive insults that leave the political platforms and enter our bedrooms as women is totally unacceptable. You need to bring a stop to this otherwise, I repeat,no one’s bedroom will be safe.Be it that of men and women, or even yours Mr. President. And let me emphasise that bedroom Affairs are private and so people make all these disgusting remarks towards women based on assumption.So there will be nothing stopping us from making assumptions about men also. So if all women that comment on politics are sexually starved, then maybe Zambia is being poorly governed due to impotent men. Such levels of discourse will continue to make this country look and get filthier and civility in our politics will continue to elude us,” she said.
“I wonder why your people think that sex
and politics are one and the same thing and that they can openly discuss women’s sexuality like that. We are some times insulted by boys and girls young enough to be our children and as long as they call them selves praise singers and insult us for your benefit they feel protected.Some times it is big people with wives, daughters and mothers that feel comfortable insulting someone else’s daughter, wife, mother, spouse or sister.As a mother of 3 children, it really pains me to see a Zambia that has lost so much direction and respect for women in just one year of your presidency. Sadly, most opposition and ruling parties in Zambia never have good relationships, but not what we are seeing under your leadership. This is totally unacceptable. I look forward to your urgent guidance in this matter and hearing from you soon,” Ms. Imboela concluded.
Last June, UPND Presidential Advisor William Banda issued insulting remarks against New Heritage Party President Chishala Kateka for staging a solo protest in Lusaka.
Mr. Banda, a former UNIP Vigilante, accused Ms. Kateka of being sexually starved after her lone protest over high cost of essential commodities earlier this week.