THE Zambia Centre for Social Development (ZCSD) has called on political parties to waive adoption fees so that as many people as possible are allowed to apply.

In a statement, Wednesday, ZCSD executive director Leah Mitaba stated that the fees were inconsiderate, given the various economic factors pertaining in the country.

“It is evident that the fees are not taking consideration of the various economic factors pertaining in the country. For instance, we have seen adoption fees for rural areas being the same as for urban areas when we know that currently poverty levels in rural areas are as high as 80% compared with urban areas at 54% . The adoption fees seem to be oblivious to persons with disabilities, women and youths. Our fear is that these fees will disadvantage women and youths, and in particular, those in rural areas where poverty levels are high. We therefore call on all political parties to waive the adoption fees to allow many people to apply for adoption. Aspiring for political office should not be a preserve of the rich but everyone who wants to serve the nation. We believe political parties have resources to carry out the adoption process without attaching fees. The adoption of candidates should not be used as a fundraising venture by political parties,” she stated.

“The Zambia Council for Social Development (ZCSD) is concerned with the fees that political parties are charging aspiring candidates that want to be adopted on their party tickets. While we are pleased with the fact that most political parties have openly advertised the process of adopting candidates, we are worried with the fees that are being attached to the adoption of candidates.”

She, however, commended parties which were not charging adoption fees.

“In the same vein we would also like to commend some political parties that are not charging adoption fees on aspiring candidates. This is one way of encouraging women and youths to participate in the August 12 general elections as candidates and therefore help change the political trajectory that has seen women and youths being sidelined in political leadership. We urge women and youths to take advantage of political parties that are not charging aspiring candidates and apply on these party tickets,” she stated.

She also urged political parties to ensure that they meet the 50/50 representation in their adoptions.

“Once again we reiterate our call for political parties to ensure that they meet the 50/50 adoption of women and men as candidates in line with the Southern Africa Gender Protocol and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Zambia is state party to. Let the adoption of candidates be transparent and free from corruption and any form of persuasion and undue influence,” stated Mitaba.