‘More women needed in leadership’

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LINDA SOKO TEMBO writes

THE Non-governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) says it will continue urging President Edgar Lungu to prioritise the appointment of more women to decision-making positions in line with Article 259 of the National Constitution.

The organisation has commended South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for appointing 50 percent women in his cabinet.

NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale said the organisation hoped Zambia would emulate South Africa by increasing the proportion of women in Parliament and the government.

“This is also given that Zambia remains a signatory to both the African Union and SADC Gender protocols. The government and indeed all stakeholders, especially political parties, should put in place measures to ensure gender parity at all levels,” she said.

Ms Mwale urged different political parties to adopt and field female candidates for the upcoming Katuba parliamentary by-election as they all looked to replace the late Katuba member of Parliament Patricia Mwashingwele.

She said NGOCC expected all political parties to commit to the gender agenda as a principle of practice for national development and not just a symbolic act of tokenism.

Ms Mwale said Zambia stood to benefit if women and men worked together and given equal opportunities as leaders for the transformation of the country.

The decision by President Ramaphosa to appoint more women at the Union Buildings, she said, was in line with commitments made by African leaders to the 50-50 representation of women and men in decision-making positions.

Ms Mwale said NGOCC had noted with concern that despite the many efforts by various stakeholders to promote gender equality at all levels of leadership, Zambia was still lagging with only 127 female councillors out of 1,624.

She said there were only 10 female council chairpersons/executive mayors out of 109; 29 female members of Parliament out of 164; 11 women Cabinet members out of 33 and no female provincial ministers out of 10.

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