Non-governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Executive Director Engwase Mwale says people should refrain from ridiculing women holding decision making positions as they are few and need to be supported.

In a statement, Tuesday, Mwale said the council had been overwhelmed by press queries since a video of Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe in an apparent drunken stupor went viral on social media.

Mwale stated that it had always been NGOCC’s position to demand that leaders; both male and female, should exercise their duties with utmost professionalism and integrity.

“Following the video of Hon. Margret Mwanakatwe that has gone viral on social media, we have been inundated with media queries on the supposed dozing and seemingly tired Minister in the recording. The video appears to be related to the matter that was brought to the attention of the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) following a point of order by one of the delegates. The Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) is herein restrained from commenting on the video as we do not have the full details of the circumstances and condition of the Minister at the time. In this regard, we would like to go along with the verdict as passed by the Standing Orders of the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) which cleared the Minister of any wrong doing. It is this position we shall rely upon as the reflection of events related to the video in question,” Mwale stated.

“However, in the wake of all the debates and perspectives around the matter with the Minister and similarly with other public leaders, it has always been NGOCC’s stated position that leaders, both female and male, should conduct themselves in line with the decorum of their offices. It is our expectation that public leadership should be exercised with utmost professionalism and integrity,” Mwale said.

Mwale, however, cautioned citizens against unfair criticism, saying female leaders needed a lot of support.

“In the same vein, it is public responsibility to hold our leaders to account with positive criticism and fair judgment on their capacity to perform and deliver to citizens’ expectation. We all need to transcend beyond unfair criticism and unnecessary ridicule of especially women in decision making positions at all levels and contribute objectively to the dictates of their public offices,” stated Mwale.

“NGOCC has over the years bemoaned the low numbers of women in decision making positions, especially in politics. In this regard, NGOCC would like to encourage the public to support the few women leaders occupying public offices as opposed to demonizing them at the slightest opportunity.”