CHIEF Government spokesperson Dora Siliya says a lot of parliamentarians come from a business background, therefore, people shouldn’t dampen their entrepreneurial spirits with corruption allegations.

And Siliya says most women are afraid of politics because they think it’s an insulting game.

Siliya, who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services, was speaking when she featured on Smart Eagles’ Round Table talk; Women of Substance Edition with Nakiwe Simpungwe, Thursday.

Asked on the notion that politics was just about money making, Siliya said she had seen most parliamentarians come from business backgrounds, and further urged people to have a culture of supporting those who were doing well.

“Being member of parliament, being a minister, being a President, being a Vice-President is a job and it is a job with a very clear time frame. And that job has a particular reward. Since 1964, there have been members of parliament, there have been ministers. I don’t know how many of them are actually rich. But I think that what has happened recently is that Zambians have become very enterprising. Many Zambians are business people now. Even [the] young people I know, women are always calling me that they are selling this, doing that. Zambians have become enterprising and I think that we should not dampen that entrepreneurial spirit with a lot of accusations. Wherever there is any sort of misuse or abuse, that will be dealt with by relevant authorities,” Siliya said.

“But I think we should also not dampen people’s capacity for entrepreneurship. In every nation there are systems to address issues of misuse, of misappropriation, of misapplication, those are systems. But also let us not take away from people who are enterprising. In this parliament, I saw a lot of people who came from a business background. So if somebody is doing well, I think we should have a culture of being happy for them. We must also have a culture of wanting to support those that are doing well.”

And Siliya said most women were afraid of politics because they thought it was an insulting game.

She added that it would be a shame if educated women were chased away from politics because they perceived it to be a game for those who had nothing better to do or those who loved to insult each other.

“I think [that] now most of the women are scared of politics because with social media they think this is just an insulting game. I think it would be a shame if a lot of women, especially educated women, were chased away from politics because they perceive it as just being a game for those people with nothing better to do, for those people who just love to insult each other. For those people where young boys just insult them. I think it will be a real shame if educated women stayed away from politics because of that. I think this is a time of reckoning for all political parties in Zambia that are they female friendly? Are they parties that women can join and feel safe? We need a lot of male champions to say political parties should be a place where all kinds of women can feel that they have a place and that they will be respected for their minds not because they are women,” Siliya said.

“I have been around enough in politics to know that women can do very well in terms of administration, system management [and] delivery in terms of commitment. If a politician is not talking about changing people’s lives, then they are not a politician. So when I see a politician who is just insulting, I’m very clear in my mind that they totally have no ideas to offer the people.”

Meanwhile, Siliya said she was glad that the Judiciary had pronounced itself on the issue of the grade 12 certificate as that was the first step for Zambians to value education.

She added that the country needed a few extraordinary men and women in every sector of society including politics.

“There’s an assumption that people in government don’t have to be clever. There are a lot of intelligent people in government. Both in politics and in the civil service. Because first of all when you are going to fly, you are entrusting your life with an educated engineer, a pilot. When you are sick you are entrusting your life with an educated doctor. Why should you entrust your life to people who are not educated in terms of politics? Because they are the ones responsible for the future of your children. So to me I think in this country at this point especially with this whole grade 12 certificate, we are having a great conversation about the value of education. I’m glad that another wing of government, the Judiciary, has pronounced itself very well leaving no doubt on the issue of grade 12 because that’s the first step for us as a country to value education. Clearly, we need a few extra ordinary men and women in every sector of society including politics,” said Siliya.