FORMER gender minister Elizabeth Phiri says women are crying because they have been left out of key positions in the UPND administration.
And Phiri says UPND will be the shortest-serving government because their promises are not attainable.
In an interview, Phiri lamented that scrapping of the gender ministry was disappointing because taking its functions to the Office of the President was inadequate.
“Talking about women in this new dawn government, we have been left out. Even our ministry has been scrapped off. We have no platform, we are voiceless. When you look at the appointment in the Cabinet, the women that are there don’t even make a quarter of the Cabinet. My appeal to the President is that he has to remember that women are in the majority, we are the ones that made this new dawn government. It was the women and the youths who were in majority. Our children, the youths have been given their ministry but the women ministry has been scrapped off. We just have a desk under the Office of the President and knowing how busy that office is, we cannot say that is enough,” Phiri said.
“As a former Minister of Gender, we had a lot of activities, a lot of programmes that needed continuity. And the budgeting will not be enough for us as women to say we will have enough funds. Even as a ministry, it was not enough, we were dependent on donors. It had goodwill from the donors when it was a ministry because it had a loud voice, it was attracting attention. But this time there will be no voice, women have been neglected by this government and as women, I expected the women’s movement to arise and speak louder.”
Phiri called on President Hakainde Hichilema to revisit his appointments to include more women.
“I expected the women’s movement to protest about the appointment of women, when a woman is there, every woman is represented. This time, we cannot say this government has given us a correct share of this national cake. As women, we are crying, let this government hear us. Let other men be disappointed and women appointed. We have enough women that were voted into parliament. If it means consuming all the women that were voted in under UPND and also looking at the other woman who is outside the party that can be appointed, we have independent women. We also have women in UPND who can do better. We have intelligent women. And women leadership is unique, it is different from men. They use the heart to think. My appeal to His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema is that he has to revisit his appointment,” she said.
And Phiri said UPND would be the shortest-serving government because their promises were not attainable.
“PF is still intact and we stand a very good chance of bouncing back because people were moved by promises that are not attainable. Who would not have voted for a government that will give free education? Who would not have voted for a government that will reduce mealie-meal to K50? Who would not vote for a government that will employ all our youths? Who will not vote for a government that will increase salaries for all civil servants across the board? All these promises moved people to vote for this government. But with a turn around of events, people have realized that they were deceived and they have known that PF meant well for them. It is only that this government has to be given five years to complete their programme, and this will be the shortest government because no promise will be attained according to the signs that we are seeing now,” she said.
Phiri also argued that the International Monetary Fund’s conditions would be harsh.
“And that they are going to the IMF, we expect the worst to come. We know the conditions that they will give, they will be harsh. And it will affect people’s lives and this will bring PF nearer to its wheels again so that we drive this country to higher heights. Instead of reducing the cost of living, things will go high. Because rumor has it that already they are talking about wage freeze, freezing recruitment. This new dawn will shortly be a new dark government,” said Phiri.