Non-Governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) says it will engage both the ruling and opposition political parties in 2020 to resolve the impasse on the Constitution making process.

And the organization has bemoaned the reluctance by relevant investigative bodies to bring to book those named in questionable financial transactions, saying this has the potential to create a negative perception of the country.

Speaking during an end of year briefing, Tuesday, NGOCC board chairperson Mary Mulenga appealed to government to adopt the report of the Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution Amendment Bill No 10 of 2019.

“With regards Constitution Bill 10, it was our submission to the Parliamentary committee that the Bill contains some progressive and a number of retrogressive provisions. We are, therefore, happy that the Parliamentary Committee agreed with our position on a number of clauses that we submitted which are articulated in the Committee’s Report. Going forward, we would like to appeal to the Government to consider adopting the report of the Parliamentary Committee especially on the aspect of subjecting this important Constitution reform process to more broad-based consultation. In this regard, NGOCC will in 2020, engage both the ruling party and opposition political parties to find resolve to the impasse on the Constitution making process,” she said.

And Mulenga said the negative perception being created about Zambia the potential to jeopardize external development support.

“In addition, we have not witnessed any public efforts by relevant investigative bodies to follow up, adequately investigate and recommend for prosecution those named as having been involved in questionable financial transactions and corruption as per the Financial Intelligence Report of 2019. This status quo has the tendency to render the country to be viewed negatively by the outside world and has the potential to jeopardize external development support. In this regard, we have in mind donor financing towards HIV and AIDS and other basic health programs, Social Cash Transfer, community focused interventions on women’s empowerment and promotion of girls’ access to education, among many others. NGOCC wishes to contend that justice dispensation must be obeyed in all respects without any selectivity and without regard to the type of matter upon which the courts have adjudicated on or needs to preside over,” she said.

Meanwhile, the organization expressed concern at the increasing number of gender based violence cases in the country.

“The increased cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) every year, is of great concern to the women’s movement in Zambia. Going by the 2019 statistics, it is clear that this scourge is on the upswing and still carrying a female face due to the continued marginalization and vulnerability of many women and girls. This can be illustrated through statistics which indicate that from a total of 773 child defilement cases recorded in the third quarter of 2019, 770 cases or 99.6% were against girls while only 3 cases or 0.4% were against boys. NGOCC was also actively engaged on matters of ending Child Marriage (mostly negatively impacting on girl children) which have remained high in the country at 31%. We note that mostly girls have been at the receiving end of this societal negative practice and hence driving the female faced poverty cycle,” said Mulenga.