The road map towards the 2021 general election looks very discouraging because politicians are so engrossed in solidifying their positions instead of enhancing democracy, says NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale.

And Mwale has reminded the PF government that the mighty also fall.

Meanwhile, Mwale says statistics cited by Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya from a World Health Organization (WHO) survey that alleged that Zambian women were the biggest consumers of alcohol in the world is inconclusive.

Speaking during Hot 87.7 FM’s “Frank on Hot” programme hosted by veteran broadcaster Frank Mutubila, Mwale said it was highly likely that there would be more violence and divisions in 2021 since politicians had not done much to address the challenges which emerged in 2016.

“2021 road map, I think what we are seeing is very, very discouraging more so that, our politicians seem to be so engrossed in campaigns every moment. Yes, it’s good to be able to ensure that, we keep our political ideologies ongoing and engaging with the people. But I think there should be a way that is more-embracing; a way that is also promoting unity in the [political] process,” Mwale said, Tuesday.

“What we are seeing now is that, even with the few by-elections that we have had, it is all, again, pointing towards divisions, political violence…and we are wondering what to expect in 2021 because any kind of good leadership should really be focused on how are we dealing with the lessons learnt from 2016?”

She expressed serious concerns with a lack of capacity-building programmes among the leading political parties that were designed to enhance women participation in crucial decision-making positions.

“Our concern, as NGOCC, is that, there are few women that are still finding themselves, ultimately, in the political decision-making. Can all the political parties, as they work towards 2021, and we are definitely going to gauge them and monitor; can they come up with capacity-building processes that will ensure they are more inclusive? Especially on the issue of women and the youth,” Mwale added.

“Most of these politicians are using the youth for violence; they are providing beer where it’s an in-thing; it is part of their budgets, rather than building a youth cadre, and a women cadre, that will be able to propound on the political party ideologies so that come 2021, they will offer themselves genuinely as transformative leaders.”

She bemoaned the lack of progress on the promotion of intra-party democracy, among others.

“…And another aspect of the road map is that, can the political parties also enhance and promote their own internal democracies? Their own internal systems? So that, they can be more inclusive and allow people to adequately participate because leaders don’t just emerge in 2021; leaders must be nurtured; an environment must be created where both women, men and the youth, should actually be harnessed so that they emerge and then they are prepared for 2021,” she said.

And Mwale reminded the PF government that the mighty also fall.

In light of the increasing propensity from government to sell public assets without adequate, broader stakeholder consultation, she explained that the ruling party should be an all-inclusive government where no one feels left behind in terms of important policy decisions affecting the country’s socio-economic development agenda.

“There is no leader, really, that can be running a country without the support of the people. People are a very critical resource…This is where we are saying, if that is where they will decide to go, the mighty will also fall at some point, when you leave your people behind,” she cautioned.

Meanwhile, Mwale observed that the statistics cited by Siliya from a World Health Organization (WHO) survey that alleged that Zambian women were the biggest consumers of alcohol in the world were inconclusive.

Last month, Siliya told journalists that Cabinet had passed a resolution to put in place measures that will prevent excessive intake of alcohol among citizens, following worrying statistics indicating that 42 per cent of Zambian women drink excessively.

Citing a World Health Organization (WHO) survey, Siliya, who is also Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, disclosed that Zambian women were exposed as the biggest consumers of alcohol in the world.

“The question we have, as NGOCC, on this purported report is: what problem was this research report trying to solve? And what sort of fundamental research principles did it meet? Where was it done, and what was the sample size, what was the methodology? And that is why this report remains speculative and, therefore, causes a serious worry on us that we can have our leaders, ministers, relying on such speculative research reports and issuing a statement like that,” observed Mwale.

“The issue of alcohol remains of great concern to NGOCC from a perspective of abuse of alcohol.”