NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) spokesperson Saboi Imboela says calibre of politicians the country has at the moment is what keeps her in politics because she wants to make a difference.

And UPND member Mutinta Mazoka says she doesn’t care what people say or dig up about her as that will not change her resolve to make sure she leaves a better country for her children.

Speaking when they featured on a special Free Press Initiative (FPI) interview on Live Radio, Thursday, Imboela said at times, she wondered whether certain ministers had entered a classroom in their lives.

“For a woman to get into politics, you have to think about all those things, they are going to say this they are going to say that and people stay away and you find that people’s husbands, families, even tell the women, no you can’t join politics because of this, because of the same issues. And so the women and the youth are busy staying away from politics but we can’t because as long as we stay away, the wrong people are staying in. And I will be very honest with you, for me it’s one of the things that make stay in politics because there are times whereby you say you are going to give up I can’t go on, you look at the calibre of our politicians and you say so I stay way, I know I have got this and this which I can offer to the country. So I stay away because our conversation is so bad in the country then I let these characters continue and they keep on worsening it because that’s what they are doing. You find sometimes an entire Minister will be on radio or TV and the things that will come out of his mouth are things which are so disgusting and you are wondering whether the Minister even went into a classroom,” Imboela said.

“And so you tell yourself, I am not going to stay away and let these characters run this country and the other thing is this, as parents, if we stay away from politics now, our children will go through the same things. So we need to sacrifice for them. I need to be in politics right now so that if my daughter becomes a politician, my son becomes a politician, in the next 10, 20 years, they are going to find a better political environment than it is now. We need to fight for this country because if we don’t, it will keep on degenerating.”

She lamented that sometimes, people concocted lies about politicians, especially female ones.

“With social media now, people come up with all sorts of things, so apart from digging up, there is the issue of just creating things, they can create anything that they want…So the digging up of dirt, the creation of all sorts of things against people, the hate speech, a lot of things should be criminalised to protect this country. And those which already have protection from our Constitution, let’s use the law to make sure that we sort out certain people that want to use certain things against us. It’s too much. People want to destroy people’s reputations, it takes a long time to build a reputation, a very long time and people want to destroy that in one or two days and it can be destroyed in one or two days if you let it happen,” she said.

She urged women to join politics because they were needed.

“They should enter with true intentions and stick to that. It’s very difficult, especially in Zambia to stay true to what you believe in but I can safely tell them that they can manage and they should keep on renewing their resolve with maybe the kind of things they watch, the kind of things they read and stuff like that,” said Imboela.

“The way forward, the women and the youth should not stay away because we need them. A government which does not include these people, believe you me, it can’t run properly. We need all these socially excluded groups. We talk about the so called critical mass of the women and the youth, it’s genuine because women and men think differently, so the only way you are going to benefit from both sexes is by engaging them in the governance system.”

And Mazoka said women were afraid of joining politics because of the ridicule and violence associated with politics in the country.

“When people reduce themselves to not speaking on the basis of ideas and they resort to violence and intimidation and words of ill repute, it just shows that they have no vision, they are empty. That is a tactic to de-sway you from being involved. As women, here we are sitting, what our male counterparts face is very different from us. For a woman to be involved in politics, you first you have to even sit down and say ‘ya, nomba bala ndepaula pano (they will tear me apart) because they will bring in this ka issue, the will bring in this, they will dig up the dirt on you all to keep you away. For me, I don’t care what you dig up, it will not change my resolve to making sure I leave a better country for my children. People have died for this country, words will not hurt me. Yes I will be offended, but will my sitting back out of fear change my predicament economically? Absolutely not, so let us just make sure that we are not dissuaded or put off by the words of insults or the violence. Get out, abantu bakala landa (people will talk), they will not stop,” Mazoka said.

She said women and youth should come forward and defend the country at all costs, not for a political party but for the true sovereignty of the country.

“Your staying away will make this life that we are experiencing in Zambia continue, so you have no choice. As a patriot, true patriotism requires that you defend your country at all cost. It is time that the youth, women, everybody, step forward and defend this country, not for a political party, no but for the true sovereignty of this country. We have a constitution, people died and fought for it, we need to do the same. So for the youth, women, come out in numbers. These people who are trying to create an illusion that it’s violent, it’s one sided. They have a right to protect themselves as well and how do we protect ourselves, by being a bigger number. Those of us who are suffering are more than those that are in power and enjoying themselves. So every person who is out there, I can’t remember which country it is where it’s actually an offense not to vote,” said Mazoka.