Sunday, 21 February 2016

Political Parties Pledge To Mobilise, Support Women Candidates

By Paul Shalala
Zambia has more female voters than males

Seven political parties on the Copperbelt have pledged to work together across party lines to help more women get adopted ahead of the August 11 general elections.

The seven include the ruling Patriotic Front, UPND, Democratic Front, MMD, FDD, Rainbow Party and the National Restoration Party.

In a communiqué read on Friday by MMD Copperbelt Province Chairlady Edith Mataka, the parties have pledged to mobilize all women across the province to support women candidates at Councilor, Member of Parliament and Presidential levels.

The communiqué was arrived at after the two days Women’s Development Dialogue in Kitwe which was attended by over 300 aspiring candidates for councilor, mayor and Member of Parliament drawn from all districts on the Copperbelt.

The Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) organized the event and brought specialists to teach the women how to win adoption and sustain their campaigns.

“We resolve to unite across political affiliation to mobilize our fellow women to rally support for our fellow female candidates as Councilors, Members of Parliament and Presidential candidates ahead of the 2016 elections,” read part of the communiqué.

The women also condemned the recent violence which has rocked the political scene.

“We condemn the recent political violence that has characterized the political arena and some of the entrenched cultural and traditional practices that have been inhibiting the participation of women in politics.”

And during the closure of the dialogue, NGOCC Executive Director Engwase Mwale said the organisation had launched the Vote for a Woman campaign.

Engwase Mwale
“We want the men to support us. We are used to saying ‘behind every successful man is a woman.’ Now we also need the men to support us by giving us a 50-50 gender parity during the adoptions,” said Mwale.

The Kitwe dialogue was the tenth and last provincial dialogue the NGOCC was holding across the country.

Two weeks ago during the Northern Province Women’s Development dialogue in Kasama, the organisation launched the Vote for a Woman campaign.

Under this campaign, the organisation will give capacity building to female aspirants.

Further, the organisation plans to pay for live radio phone-in programs were female candidates can feature and sell their manifestos.

Currently, out of the 158 Members of Parliament, only 22 are female while out of the approximately 1, 444 councilors countrywide, only about 82 are women.

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