It is almost impossible for a parent to testify against his own child accused of wrongdoing. Even when the evidence is so clear for all to see, a parent will always choose to side with their blood instead of the law.

This is also the reason why judges declare interest and recuse themselves whenever a relative or someone of personal interest is brought before them for trial. It is hard to give objective judgment on matters in which you have a direct interest. Those who overcome this human dilemma to condemn a wrong, regardless of who is involved, risk being called betrayers, among other names; while on the other hand; those who decide to use their influential positions to launder wrongdoers linked to them deserve public ridicule.

It is clear that the Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has a personal interest in women in leadership. Women like Vice-President Inonge Wina, Chief Justice Irene Mambilima and of course Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe. These women are success stories of the NGOCC, so it is only expected that when one of them does wrong, it would be hard for the organization to condemn its own ambassadors.

We have a situation on our hands where NGOCC has failed to interrogate or criticize the behavior of Honourable Mwanakatwe during the National Dialogue Forum, despite the pictorial and video evidence circulating in public domain that the minister misconducted herself. Instead, the organization is asking Zambians to support Honourable Mwanakatwe, not only because there are fewer women in leadership in the country, but also because “she did not do anything wrong”.

“…NGOCC would like to go along with the verdict as passed by the Standing Orders of the National Dialogue Forum which cleared the Minister of any wrong doing,” said NGOCC in a statement this week.

“We all need to transcend beyond unfair criticism and unnecessary ridicule of especially women in decision making positions at all levels and contribute objectively to the dictates of their public offices. NGOCC would like to encourage the public to support the few women leaders occupying public offices as opposed to demonizing them at the slightest opportunity”.

It is understandable for NGOCC to do nothing about Honourable Mwanakatwe’s conduct. We don’t expect the organization to be in the forefront condemning the minister for the reasons we have stated above, but to exonerate this minister of any wrong doing and to further call for public support of this misbehaving leader just because she is female, is asking for too much.

The reason why NGOCC and other feminist organisations are demanding for gender equality is because women are not of lesser intellect or integrity. Women are not of less value to society and neither are they expected to underperform in leadership just because of their gender. Women are just as capable of providing sober leadership as men are. In fact, sometimes the best “man” for the job is actually a “woman”.

This what we were told when Honourable Mwanakatwe was appointed Minister of Finance, the second female to serve on this position in the country’s history. “As a mother, she will look at our financial needs as a nation with compassion, just like she takes care of her own family,” we were told. So how can the same attribute which justified her appointment be used as an excuse for her poor performance? Of all 30 Cabinet ministers, Honourable Mwanakatwe is standing out as the worst drunkard, and citizens must support that because she is female?

Countrymen and women, bad leadership should not be condemned on the basis of gender. If we do this, we risk encouraging younger women into thinking that they have the exemption of aspiring for leadership while exhibiting less exemplary public conduct. Supporting Honourable Mwanakatwe’s conduct is lowering the bar to unacceptable standards for young achievers.

Like Lubinda Chamileke commented on the NGOCC story, what the organization is basically saying is that we should support mediocrity when it comes in a dress. Suggesting that we should support wrongdoers because of their gender, skin colour or tribe is very, very, very wrong. The fact is, a wrong is a wrong no matter who commits it. Leadership is for sober-minded people!

The case of Honourable Mwanakatwe is not something you can refer to as a “slightest opportunity” that people are using to ridicule her. It is not true that people are being hard on her for no apparent reason. There is a pattern of questionable conduct on the part of the Minister of Finance and people are fed up because they expect her to be staggering with the economic pressure not from alcohol intoxication.

If NGOCC thinks people are just being malicious, let them summon Honourable Mwanakatwe and ask her to truthfully disclose how she was robbed at Mayela night club in Kalingalinga, and what forced her to withdraw the court case. We will end there.