MWAPE MWENYA, Kafue
THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has urged political parties to ensure that women and men are given equal opportunities in political leadership.
However, ECZ senior public relations officer Sylvia Bwalya said the electoral Process Act, the Electoral Laws and the Electoral Commission Act are silent on gender equality.
Ms Bwalya said the commission has had a challenge in the past where political parties adopt more men than women during elections.
She was speaking on Monday during the Electoral Act review meeting that attracted various political parties, ECZ and the Zambia Law Development Commission (ZLDC) in Kafue district.
“The electoral laws are silent on gender impartiality, we would like the gender aspect to come out so that we have equal representation in the electoral process,” Ms Bwalya said.
She said men and women are equal partners in the development of the nation and should therefore be given equal opportunities to contest the elections at various levels.
And ZLDC director Hope Chanda said Zambia is a party to international and regional treaties that promote gender impartiality in political participation.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Gender permanent secretary Felix Phiri says despite many achievements Zambia has made towards gender equality, women participation in decision making positions still remains low.
Dr Phiri said the need to reform the electoral system and particularly the electoral Act is aimed at guaranteeing women`s equal access to participating in positions of power and decision making at all levels.
“In a quest to further create an enabling environment for women`s participation in the political sphere, it is cardinal to review the electoral Act with a view to improving women`s prospects of successfully contesting for elective offices in general elections,” Dr Phiri said.
He said Government has launched the National Gender Policy of 2014 to ensure the attainment of gender equality in the development process by addressing existing gender imbalances.