Monday, 29 September 2014

Female Councillors Call For 50% Adoption Of Women In Elections

Councillors and Gender activists at the conference
By Paul Shalala

80 female Councillors from various active political parties have called for a legal framework that will compel various players in politics to implement a 50-50% representation of both men and women to consolidate democracy.

 In a communique read on Friday by Kawambwa District Council Chairperson Angela Sichone at the just ended national conference for women in politics held at Andrews Motel in Lusaka, the female councillors have argued that if this legal framework is enacted, it will help the nation consolidate its thriving democracy.

Ms Sichone revealed that the female councillors have also called on all active political parties to review their manifestos and provide 50% adoption rate for women parliamentary and local government candidates.

"Gender equity and equality must be enshrined in the national constitution to ensure 50-50 representation of both men and women to ensure the consolidation of democracy in Zambia," said Sichone, who is also a female councillor in in the male dominated Kawambwa District Council of Luapula Province.

The two day conference was organised by the Zambia National Women's Lobby who brought three female Councillors from Finland who shared their experiences of female politics in the Scandinavian country.

And ruling Patriotic Front Director for Media and Publicity Brian Hapunda says the ruling party is ready to adopt the proposal as it views women as partners in development.

"Our commitment to increasing the number of women in decision making positions can be seen from our adoption of women candidates in Vubwi and Zambezi West who won us parliamentary seats earlier this month," said Hapunda.

But the National Democratic Party says the proposal is not workable because political parties adopt candidates on popularity basis and not on gender.

"Political parties adopt parliamentary and local government candidates based on their strength and popularity. We cant adopt candidates just because they are women even when they are unpopular. This proposal cant work," said Edwin Zulu, Secretary General of the National Democratic Party.

Zambia has one of the lowest number of female legislators in the world.

Of the 150 elected members of parliament, only 20 are women and of the total 1,444 Councillors countrywide, only 84 are women.

None of the female councillors is a Mayor and among female MPs, only four are Full Ministers in a Cabinet of 22 Ministers.

The biggest challenge for women to become elected leaders is the low adoption rate of women among political parties.

In 2011, less than 50 women were adopted by various political parties to contest the 150 seats in Parliament.

In the run upto the 2016 general elections, the Zambia National Women's Lobby has started conducting mentoring workshops for female politicians who are aspiring to contest as councillors and members of parliament.

This is in a bid to increase the number of women in District Councils and Parliament in 2016.

No comments:

Post a Comment