Violence hinders women’s political participation

Political violence should be stopped immediately because it has limited the number of women participation in politics and hindered their participation in national affairs, the Non-Governmental Organisations Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has observed.

And the NGOCC has accused the Zambia police of not applying the Public Order Act (POA) fairly among political players and has urged them to be professional in enforcing the law so that political parties were treated according to the law without impartiality.

NGOCC chairperson Sara Longwe said the volatile political environment in Zambia was partly to blame for women’s reduced participation in political affairs in the country, leading to lack of participation in national affairs.

Ms. Longwe said it was important for the opposition and ruling party to take a leading role in quelling the vice in order to prevent violence ahead of the elections if women were to be encouraged to join the political arena and contribute to national development.

“We are concerned with the increased political violence in the country, something which is very rare in this nation which has remained relatively peaceful. One of the reasons why women participation in politics has remained low is partly because of political violence which now is getting an uglier face.

“We therefore call on both the ruling party and the opposition to curb this political violence. We call upon our president to take a leading role in stopping and preventing this political violence. It is clear to all that the political tempo is slowly increasing as the country approaches August 11 and we appeal to both the ruling party and the opposition to avoid anything that has the potential to compromise our security and peace,” Ms. Longwe said.

She also called upon the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to ensure that the country held a free and fair elections and allow the will of the people prevail over who should rule the country.

“Zambia has remained and shining example for democracy and peace. We therefore appeal to our current leadership at all levels to ensure that they maintain this status.

As the country prepares for August 11 general elections, we appeal to the Governmnet and the ECZ as facilitators to ensure that we have a free and fair elections that will be reflective of the people’s will. ‘‘

And Ms. Longwe has accused the police of playing double standards in its application of the POA and appealed to them to act impartially.  “We appeal to the Zambia police to fairly administer the POA  and allow the competing parties to have access to the electorates because we cannot be at peace of there is violence. We are so sad to note that this far, the police has not administered the POA fairly,” she said.

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