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Thoughts on Veep Inonge, our flawed electoral system

ALEXANDER CHIKWANDA
I WOULD like to make a few remarks on the just-ended presidential election, particularly the appointment of Mama Inonge Wina as our first female Vice-President, and our flawed electoral system.
When she was appointed as the chairperson of the Patriotic Front (PF) before the 2011 general election Mama Wina immediately brought respectability to our party.
She is a woman of unmatched respectability, highly educated but humble and ready to mingle with all the people regardless of their social status.
The women of Zambia should be proud of this woman of distinction. She exudes unmatched respectability, which she has brought into the party.
Over the years, I have observed and interacted with this great woman, I have noticed that she is not like the many other educated women we see.
Mind you, she is a highly educated person, who did her university education in the United States.
As I have pointed out, Mama Wina is not like many of our educated women and men who want to wear and show off their education like clothes everywhere they are.
That is the kind of woman we want as a leader, who has humility. During the difficult period after the death of our beloved President, Michael Chilufya Sata, she was our valuable source of guidance and encouragement.
She held the party together when it was experiencing the worst turbulence in its existence.
Mama Wina came out as a morally courageous leader of sound judgement who took the plunge into the sea in the midst of the storm.
President Lungu has indeed proved to the nation and the entire world that he is a worthy successor of President Sata, and I am happy that he has pledged to carry on the vision of our late President.
He has demonstrated our party’s gender sensitivity by appointing our country’s first female Vice-President.
This opens opportunities to all the women in Zambia to serve the nation at a high level.
President Sata left a remarkable and indelible legacy by appointing the highest proportion of women to influential positions in his government there has ever been before.
I can cite some notable examples such as the Acting Chief Justice, Ms Justice Lombe Chibesakunda, Inspector General of Police Stella Libongani, Anti-Corruption Commission of Zambia (ACC) director Rosewin Wandi, director of the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) Alita Mbawe and a number of permanent secretaries.
Also, most of the 10 provincial commissioners of police are women.
And while talking about women, I am personally impressed with the remarkable way in which the president of the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) Edith Nawakwi conducted her campaigns.
Her campaign was basically issue-based. She is not only knowledgeable but also highly articulate in her engagements with the electorate and political rivals.
Ms Nawakwi brought out the important issues affecting women, the youth and children, just like our own President, Mr Lungu, did.
Unfortunately, only one candidate was bound to come out as the winner. We won the election because we had been selling the best product.
We need such brilliant citizens. That is why I strongly feel there is need to look at our seriously flawed electoral system in our current Constitution.
Had we been practising the proportional representation Nawakwi and Hakainde Hichilema (presidential candidate for the United Party for National Development) would have been with us in Parliament as the leaders of the opposition as is the case in other countries.
HH is also a very brilliant young person, but both are excluded from contributing meaningfully to the governance of this great country by our divisive and corruption-riddled electoral system.
We need to introduce the proportional representation in the new constitution.
This ‘winner-takes-all’, first-past-the-post system is a serious hindrance to democracy and must be consigned to the garbage bin of history.
In conclusion, I would like to congratulate Mama Wina on her appointment. She is a woman of mettle, who courageously held our beloved party together when it was going through its worst tribulations.
She defended the party in totality in the midst of the adversities that were visited upon us by some of our members and their allies.
The author is Zambia’s Minister of Finance.

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