pposition New Heritage Party President Chishala Kateka has bemoaned the low numbers of women participating in politics.
Ms. Kateka said there are many factors hindering women from participating in politics ranging from finances to support by partners.
Out of nine candidates that contested the recent Kabwata Constituency Parliamentary by-election in Lusaka only one was female.
Ms. Kateka observed that women are equally not offering themselves to serve in leadership positions.
“When you talk about participation of women in politics, we are not doing. I say that because women are still to break that glass ceiling and realise that they too can maneuver in that space as well as a man. The reasons are varied as to why we don’t have a larger number of women in politics as we would like to see. One of the reasons is financial, because my goodness this thing (politics) is expensive. Someone just looks at you, they want money; you know what I mean so it is very expensive. And it doesn’t matter at what level whether it is at Presidential, MP level, at councilor or mayor level, it is very expensive. It is a culture that we have inculcated into the minds of Zambians that when you see a politician ni mpiya (its money) so it is very expensive,” Ms. Kateka said when featuring on Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk Show on Friday.
“Number two, is that I find that you are dealing with people who come into this thing for different reasons, different motives, unfortunately, a lot of politicians come, you know I hope they won’t kill me but a lot of politicians come in, it is about themselves. What can I get out of this? Rather than of service and because of that there is a lot of insincerity amongst ourselves; we will be talking as though we are doing this for this common cause kanshi there is a hidden agenda behind that and then you begin to see, somebody you are talking here and you are having this earnest conversation, the next thing you see him he has joined the ruling party and you thinking, dude, what is this all about?” Ms. Kateka said.
She bemoaned the insincerity that has characterized local politics.
Ms. Kateka said it was unfortunate that some women in politics have shown insincerity as well.
“It is unfortunate but it would appear so that it is about what I can get for myself rather than standing on a cause. Unfortunately a lot of people lose their political career because of those moves because we saw somebody losing the PF yesterday (Charles Kakoma) they had just left the UPND joined the PF and now they have left the PF. So you begin to lose credibility. Women tend to shy away from such things or things are changing. It is the insincerity in politics that bothers some people. The other thing is that there are a lot of in certain cases putting down women so when it comes to adoptions they would rather choose this man because he has more financial muscle than this lady who has done a lot of work on the ground and she has the interest of the people at heart.”
“But there is also another reason; the women themselves don’t offer themselves up for leadership for different things. Some of them are in a marriage and the marriage says ummm you know that sort of thing. You need to have a supportive partner for you to do that (Participate in elections),” she said.
Ms. Kateka added that the New Dawn Government has not done well in responding to issues affecting marginalized groups such as women and the youth.
“The UPND Government has not done well in responding to issues of the marginalized, I will start with the youth and the women. With the women when they started off I had these figures where when you look at our cabinet it is very far from balanced. You look at the nominated members of Parliament 2/8, when you look at the District Commissioners,” Ms. Kateka noted.
Original story on Lusaka Times