CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Lusaka
THE MMD is looking forward to 50 percent women representation as the party today opens up applications for aspiring parliamentary and local government candidates for the August 11 general elections.
Party president Nevers Mumba said the former ruling party has opened up the adoption process with effect from today and aspirants can now file their applications.
Dr Mumba said in his message to mark this yearâ€™s International Womenâ€™s Day that the MMD is also determined to aspire for 50 percent representation of women.
He urged women to fight for their place in leadership and decision-making positions. He said women must be seen to be pushing the agenda in tandem with this yearâ€™s Womenâ€™s Day theme: â€œPlanet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for gender equality.â€
He said there is need to focus on stopping gender-based violence in homes and places of work, and men should stop inflicting pain on women through political insults, among other unfair tendencies.
Dr Mumba said women should be empowered with education to have more informed citizenry, and that educated women are a blessing to communities as their contributions impact widely and effectively.
â€œWe need to start now by ensuring that we create an enabling environment which will accord women opportunities to freely participate in the forthcoming parliamentary, presidential and local government elections,â€ he said.
He said Zambia has an opportunity to prove to the world that it is a nation that promotes and gives equal opportunities to women in all spheres of life.
Dr Mumba said this can be done by creating an enabling environment to attract and allow women to aspire for top leadership positions in the political governance of the country.
â€œIt is therefore important that we end marginalization and discrimination against women who aspire to take up top decision-making positions in the leadership of our country. The need for the attainment of 50-50 in leadership positions is in conformity with various conventions and charters the nation has signed to,â€ he said.
United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema says Womenâ€™s Day is an opportunity to evaluate how much Zambia has done and needs to do in achieving gender equality.
Mr Hichilema said the opposition party also wants as many women as possible to apply for adoption at various levels of elections.
In his message to mark the day, Mr Hichilema said the UPND â€œwholeheartedlyâ€ supports this yearâ€™s theme which endeavours to ensure complete gender equality.
â€œInternational Womenâ€™s Day is not just for celebrating the important role women play in our societies, today is also a chance to reflect on the work that has yet to be done and the struggles that many women and girls face daily around the world,â€ he said.
He said it is unfortunate that Zambia still has a shameful record on the rights of women and girls.
Mr Hichilema said it is, however, promising that a Marriage and Child Code Bill is soon expected to be presented to Parliament.
He said the UPND is strongly committed to 50:50 opportunities at home, in school and workplaces and that the party is ready to put the needs of women first and recognise their valuable contribution to society once elected into office.
â€œIt is not good enough that in Zambia female literacy rates remain 12 percent lower than boys; girls continue to struggle more than their male counterparts to gain a good education and in turn economic empowerment,â€ he said.
CHIMWEMWE MWALE, Lusaka