(By Masuzyo Chakwe and Christopher Miti)
NEVERS Mumba says MMD espouses a new Zambia where women join in the process of building the nation on an equal basis with men.
Meanwhile, Eastern Province minister Kakebi Zulu says women are unequally overburdened by poverty.
Mumba said it had been an intriguing experience to watch his wife’s capacity to stretch the Kwacha to an extent he never thought possible.
“Her commitment to detail in the running of the home and a consciousness to promises they had made to each other and to others; her ability to remember detail I thought was long buried and forgotten; her commitment to ensuring order in the home and her unfading memory made me to check with my male colleagues on their experiences with their wives. With trembling voices, we all conceded that most women are all the same. We all felt so vulnerable with nowhere to hide our inadequacies,” he said in a message to mark the international women’s day, which fell on Friday.
Mumba, the MMD president, said it was clear from the scriptures that God realised there was a problem after he created man.
“He said to Himself, ‘It is not good for a man to be alone, I will make him a help meet…’ (Gen. 2:18). The coming of a woman provided the answer to man’s problem. God designed that the two were better than one. This is why we celebrate the theme for this year’s Women’s Day: ‘Better together’,” he said.
He said for society to be strong, there was need for the full involvement of women.
He said women were created with a special touch to detail.
“An inherent desire to be prudent in managing limited resources. They are driven by a strong sense of justice as their egos are nowhere near men’s. They are the other wheel that makes sure that a two wheeler bicycle moves forward,” he said.
“On this Women’s day, we call the nation to deep reflection concerning the current under-utilisation of the women folk. MMD espouses a new Zambia where women join in the process of building our nation on an equal basis with men. A 50 per cent representation in Cabinet, Parliament, the Judiciary and in all key sectors of our society. This seems to us as God’s model in building a healthy society. This does not mean they become men but that they use their gifts as women to create and contribute to a better society for all,” said Mumba.
In a speech read on his behalf by provincial deputy permanent secretary Patrick Mwanawasa during commemoration of International Women’s Day at David Kaunda stadium in Chipata on Friday, Zulu said the government had made progress in a number of areas in addressing gender inequality but there was still more to be done.
“Women are still overburdened by poverty; continue to face challenges in accessing justice, social and economic opportunities. The challenges are even worse in accessing infrastructure, especially for persons with disabilities. This situation has been made worse by deep-rooted cultural and traditional practices that promote male dominance and the subordination of women and girls,” he said.
Zulu said it was disheartening that the province recorded over 24,000 cases of teenage pregnancies out of which Chipata district alone recorded 7,000 teenage pregnancies.
“Regarding Gender Based Violence, by the end of the third quarter of 2018, the province recorded a total of 629 cases of GBV with 262 cases coming from Chipata district. Chipata also recorded 11 cases of defilement in the same period. In the same vein, the province was ranked second with 344 cases of assault, second from Central Province, which recorded 573 cases,” said Zulu.
And Chipata Town Clerk Vivien Chikoti urged women to work to the best of their abilities.
Chikoti, who represented women commended government for the various steps it had taken to fight gender inequality.
“We take note and appreciate with gratitude the measures and steps taken by the government in strengthening the legal system to combat Gender Based Violence, in particular through the establishment of the fast track court in Chipata and in other towns across the country to speedily handle cases of GBV,” she said.
Chikoti said the fight against GBV should not be left to government alone.
She called on government and traditional leaders to help do away with negative practices that affect the lives of women, especially activities such as early child marriages.
“As woman, we shall always work to the best of our ability wherever we are, whether at the market place, work place in the hospitals. We are equal to the task and we can do anything anytime if given an opportunity,” said Chikoti.
In Livingstone, a women organisation decided to cut the grass that has overgrown the old cemetery.
In an interview, Eunice Mudenda Nyambe, who is Naleli Women’s Club coordinator for Libuyu and Ngwenya, said the women thought of cleaning up the cemetery in commemoration of International Women’s Day.
“The council is part of government, so we want them to do the work that they have been given to do. These days we have thugs known as Junkies and they find this as a better hiding place. We are ready to work with the council to be cleaning this sacred place and we also appeal to other organizations and churches to do the same,” said Nyambe.