NO! We are not talking about Mr Lungu, that kateka is a story for another day. Today, we are talking about this Kateka who has recently launched herself on the political scene. Retiring from corporate governance, the former Absa Bank board chairperson, Chileshe Kateka has taken up the leadership of the “New” Heritage Party at an interesting time when people are in the process of deciding who to vote for next year.

Now, we must hasten to say that there will be three groups of voters next year. There are those who will be voting to keep the Patriotic Front in power and those who will be voting to remove them from power. Then there is the third group of voters who will be voting out of conviction for their choice of leadership, regardless of whether or not that choice doesn’t end up anywhere near State House. Those are the voters we are talking to today. We strongly believe that this woman deserves attention. She may not be a factor next year, but she can be a force to reckon with in the near future.

Kateka is joining politics at a time when many of us were wondering if the 2021 general elections would see any female contender. So this is really great news. We have always said that sometimes, the best man for the job is a woman, and this has been proven in so many aspects of leadership and community service. Zambia must never lose hope of one day being led by a female Head of State. This is why we are happy to help introduce this new female presidential aspirant who is here to revive that hope.

Of course there is Ms Edith Nawakwi who has previously been a lone female participant. But there is a serious elephant in the room about her candidacy in next year’s polls. Apart from that, she is also famous for hibernating after elections and resurfacing in the runup to the next election. Then there is the recent news regarding her stance against her fellow opposition leaders, which raises serious questions about her newly developed political agenda.

So anyway, we are not here to talk about Ms Nawakwi. Today we would rather share the little we know about the new female presidential hopeful. Chishala Kateka is a renowned Corporate leader who has taken up the leadership of the “New” Heritage Party and recently announced her decision to contest the 2021 general elections.

“Dear friends, fellow citizens, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great delight to present myself to you in servitude as candidate for President of the Republic of Zambia in the 2021 Elections. I come with full support from a multitude of Zambians across the country through the New Heritage Party to lead Zambia to be a Premier Zambian Led Economic and Productivity Hub in Southern Africa,” she stated on her social media platforms.

Madam Kateka, 64, was founder member of the Heritage Party and holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Zambia. She has an extensive corporate career having been appointed as Barclays Bank Zambia board chairperson in 2017, becoming the first female to serve in that capacity in the bank’s history in Zambia. She has also been involved in various other private businesses where she has achieved unique success.

We are not here to tell people to support madam Kateka, simply because she is a woman. Gender is not and must not be a factor in whether or not a person can be a great leader — a person’s leadership abilities should depend on their individual strengths and personality traits. However, in many cases, women aren’t encouraged to take on leadership roles as often as their male counterparts, contributing to an imbalance of who’s in power.

Women may not always realize how poised for success they are in leadership roles, but their potential and abilities are undeniable. Another reason why it would be important to consider a female President is ego management. Some of the challenges we have right now as a country is as a result of an exaggerated sense of self-importance on the part of our leaders. Ego, so often, gets in the way of good decision-making in the C-suite. Women exhibit ego differently and they are good at decision-making with the ego held in check.

Kateka deserves a chance. The very fact that she is coming on the scene when new headlines are reflecting political violence against women, shows that she is a brave woman. Her opponents will find ways and means to frustrate her political journey, but the people of Zambia must listen attentively to what she has to offer and judge her on merit.