Tuesday, August 06, 2013

'Zambia is not doing much on inequality'
By Agness Changala
Mon 22 July 2013, 14:00 CAT

ZAMBIA National Women's Lobby Group says Zambia is not doing much to address the challenges of inequity and inequality.

Commenting on United Nations resident coordinator Kanni Wignaraja who said Zambia needed to address inequity and equality before they break the country's backbone, ZNWG chairperson Beauty Phiri, said there was need to address the two because the development of the country could not be attained without them.

Phiri said it was selfishness on the part of leaders for Zambia to fail to distribute resources equally and put food on the table for everyone.
She said if the decentralisation programme was not going to be implemented fully, the country would get stuck and some people would continue to wallow in poverty while others have more than others.

"If for example we have people that have problems in North-Western Province and with the resources the province has still those resources are controlled by Lusaka, then we are not going anywhere," she said.

"Lusaka controls this, Lusaka will control the shots and the permanent secretary in Lusaka will control resources in North-Western, where he has never even been, and if he has been, it's because he wants to get an allowance, not to go and look at what is happening on the ground and how to improve the economy in that area."

Phiri said if decentralisation was not going to be fully implemented and women left behind in terms of development, the country would continue to lag behind.

She said although President Michael Sata was trying to appoint women in decision-making positions, it did not take away the fact that the country was running away from the real issue of coming up with affirmative action that would enable the country to attain 50/50 representation in decision-making positions as required.

Phiri observed that the women representation in Parliament today was only 10.7 per cent when it was supposed to be 50 per cent. "So really, we are not doing anything about it as a country," she said.

Phiri said countries that had reached 30 or 50 per cent representation, had some affirmative action that had made them attain the percentages they had attained.

During the Local Government Association of Zambia and 10th Alliance of mayors and municipal leaders (AMICAALL) general conference in Nakonde, Wignaraja said despite Zambia recording a steady growth, good macro policies that stabilised inflation and brought more foreign direct investment, nearly half of the country's population still lived in extreme poverty and could not fully meet their family's basic needs.

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