PF, MMD have excluded women in new constitution

FDD President Edith Nawakwi says the PF has embarrassed and betrayed everyone who wanted to give them a chance to enact the constitution using their method as they did nothing but hoodwink people so that they could use the arrogance of numbers in Parliament to exclude women, youths and other marginalized groups in our society from going to Parliament.

Commenting on the throwing out of the mixed member proportional representation clause in the draft constitution by Parliament, Ms Nawakwi said the move by MPs to shelve the clause was retrogressive as it excluded the most important and productive members of the society especially the youths.

She noted that it was extremely sad that hardly two days after the adoption of the Gender Equality Bill, Parliament has decided to shelve the proposal from the people whose objective was to increase the number of women representation in Parliament among other marginalised groups.

“They have embarrassed and betrayed everyone who gave them a chance to adopt the Draft Constitution using their proposed parliamentary route. I am one of those who said if they have no money let’s see what they can do with their formula but they went out to hoodwink people and use the arrogance of numbers to exclude women and youths from participating in the governance of the country through representation in Parliament.

“It is extremely sad that after Parliament adopted the Gender Equality Bill hardly two days later they have decided to shelve the proposal from the people on proportional representation whose objective was to increase the number of half of the population who have been excluded from the governance of the country and those are specifically the mothers of Zambia and the youths of this country,” she said.

“If you look at Parliaments where there are more women and youths in places like Tanzania, Rwanda or South Africa it has been by way of affirmative action through careful and deliberate legislation. Yet our men in that parliament have decided yet again to inhibit rather than enhance the representation of women in Parliament. This development makes a sad reading. If the PF are serious with reducing their excessive and wasteful public expenditure then let them scrap off the position of Deputy Minister and the position of District Commissioner and reduce the number of Ministers.” she noted.

“In fact money will not be available as long as women continue to be excluded in governing this country. One would have thought that a variation would have been provided for where political parties are compelled by legislation to provide a checkered list for election to the office of the Councillor and of Member of parliament. This checkered list would be that out of the 150 Candidates it is expected that every political party must attempt to find female candidates for each male candidate and this is not tokenism but the reality that the first past the post system excludes extremely productive and useful members of our society especially the women and the youths.The youths don’t have money to flush around and buy chibuku, chitenge T-shirts for voters, the women don’t have money to buy votes in the field so we should as a people provide some form of decent representation of these members of our communities who are systematically excluded.”

“I think that what has happened is a clear indictment on what we have been talking about both as the grand coalition and as a political party that the PF is up to no good because these are some of the issues we could have discussed. When we were asking to discuss the constitution we wanted to discuss issues of their concern and issues of our concern. We could have have come to an arrangement were we say OK we can pass this legislation in this seating of parliament and let the implementation pend to a time when we have money, maybe after two or three sessions.

The legislation can be passed but its implementation can wait because there are a number of clauses in the Constitution which always from time to time require subsidiary legislation to be implemented. If PF was truly of good will they could have passed the law and pleaded with the house to defer its implementation, that is were you see if they are your friends and are acting in good faith.

The country is bankrupt which we agree but who bankrupted it? It is the same PF. You can’t buy satellite phones and pretend that creating 30 seats for women in the house is expensive. It is more expensive to continue to exclude mothers from that house because when you go to UTH it is mothers who are sleeping on the flow. When you go in the field it is the mothers who don’t have seed to plant. When you look at the children who are excluded from education it is the mothers sitted on the roadside selling tomatoes, busala and chikanda who have to hustle to feed them. To continue to exclude them from decision making I think is the death nail on the future and development of our country.

I personally, as a female politician in this country was looking forward to some form of arrangment were it becomes easier for my sisters to go to Parliament.”

Ms. Nawakwi also said the constitution making process will need to be revisited as the PF have removed some of the most important clauses in the draft constitution hence the Draft does not represent the people’s wishes.

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