It is common knowledge that Zambian men are broke, Zambezi West UPND member of parliament Prisca Kucheka told Parliament on Tuesday, causing a stir. 

Kucheka said this in a follow up question to Gender Minister Elizabeth Phiri who had earlier explained some of the empowerment programmes which were being implemented in her constituency. 

When she made her observation, however, Kucheka caused a stir in the House as some members, mostly men, were heard asking “which men?” while others burst into laughter. 

Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini asked Kucheka to substitute the word broke with something more befitting of the decorum of the House. 

“Men have no money,” Kucheka obliged as the laughter continued. “And the women married to these men are struggling, they are going through a lot of stress. Even the unmarried ones, the single ones are stressed.”

Kucheka asked Phiri if there were any other empowerment programmes that could save women from stress.

“Honorable Minister, apart from the programmes you’ve talked about in Zambezi West, are there any other programmes in place so that we can help our women from the stress?” asked Kucheka. 

In response, Phiri said there were a lot of programmes available for such women. 

“Mr Speaker, this is the very reason I am inviting my colleagues to come and see other programmes that we have. It is very difficult for me, Mr Speaker, to bring my technocrats here and sit with them and show them what we have as the Ministry of Gender and what we can do for those wives whose men are broke,” Phiri said, But Speaker Matibini guided her; “I have just discouraged the questioner from using that word, broke.”

Phiri continued, “I am sorry Mr Speaker, those that have no money. Mr Speaker, we have a number of programmes which I can not manage to bring them out all of them on this fora. I have been saying, when you have something that you want to do for your constituency which concerns Ministry of Gender, it is important that you come to the offices and see the director in charge of what you are requesting and they will sit with you. There are so many things that take place. Mr Speaker, we need to know their project proposals because if we don’t know what they want, we don’t want to be empowering them with elephant materials. We have given to come of these constituencies tractors and they have become white elephants because that’s not what they requested.”