NON-GOVERNMENTAL Organizations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) executive director Engwase Mwale says the appointment of five male Permanent Secretaries by President Edgar Lungu is flawed as it is a form of discrimination against women.
Commenting on President Lungu’s recent appointments in an interview, Thursday, Mwale said this was one of the reasons why her organisation had taken the issue of appointments to court in order to ensure representation.
“One thing to be made very clear is that sustainable development in this country will remain elusive, it will never happen for as long as the majority of society shall be discriminated from both participating and benefitting from the various process of development from our country. So, women who constitute more than 50 per cent in this country according to official statistics, there are few of them in decision making positions. Talk about parliament, local government and the men continue to dominate. I think this is the narrative that defeats even democracy. If you are going to say democracy is the rule by the majority, then in our own instances, it is flawed. It is flawed from the conceptual and even by the narrative itself where we are seeing that women remain absent from top decision-making positions. And to see that the Head of State is initiating and perpetuating this is most unfortunate,” Mwale said.
“The long and short of this is that it’s about women participation but not only that it’s about who we are as a people. And who we are as a people is defined by the constitution of Zambia. The Republican constitution clearly outlines in Article 259, it’s very clear. The mere fact that the constitution prescribes appointments when appointments are supposed to be made, one of the things it is very clear about is that in that provision gender must always be taken into consideration, just like regionalism. There must be that sensitivity and we are shunning away from stating that currently we are actually before court against the executive, against the President on these appointments. We have taken the matter to Constitutional Court on the interpretation of Article 259 and the continued breach of it by the executive.”
Mwale said NGOCC was surprised that the breech of the constitution had continued.
“We are actually surprised that breach has continued. We can only urge the power to appoint and disappoint to pay attention to the provision of the constitution. Remember, they swear allegiance to no one but the constitution. When the President goes to be sworn in as Head of State, that symbolic event that happens is not just for fashion, it is meant to show the world that he will defend and lead by the Constitution of the land. And therefore, NGOCC remains concerned that this breach seems to be continuing. And the recent appointments of Permanent secretaries, the three ladies were dropped and seven males were appointed further exemplifies the need for those in appointing positions, and specifically here the Head of State, to adhere to the constitutional dictates when making these appointments,” said Mwale.