Women celebrate new female MPs

A CROSS section of women yesterday celebrated the election of three female candidates out of the five that stood in Wednesday’s parliamentary by-elections which saw the Patriotic Front (PF) grabbing three seats while the opposition shared two.

The women who were elected to Parliament are Victoria Kalima of MMD, and Christabel Ngimbu and Margret Miti of the PF.

The number of women in the 150 Parliament has now increased from 17 to 20.

Ms Kalima retained her Kasenengwa seat while Ms Ngimbu and Miti defeated immediate past MPs for Zambezi West and Vubwi Charles Kakoma and Eustarckio Kazonga respectively.

Minister of Gender and Child Development Inonge Wina said the election of the three MPs had brought joy and inspiration to women and girls across the country.

“This victory is a demonstration of Government’s commitment and clear roadmap aimed at attaining gender equity and equality in all spheres of socio-economic development through the ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and other instruments,” she said.

Non-Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) congratulated the three female MPs saying the women movement was glad that voters in the three constituencies had elected them to preside over the constituencies.

NGOCC Executive Director Engwase Mwale said the election of the trio was further demonstration of the growing confidence the Zambian people have in the leadership of women.

Meanwhile, the Zambia National Women’s Lobby was equally elated at the election of Ms Kalima, Ms. Miti and Ms Ngimbu.

ZNWL board chairperson Beauty Katebe said; “We appeal to the PF Government to appoint the newly elected women MPs into Cabinet to further increase the number of women in decision making positions.

On her election, Ms Kalima, said; “This should be a lesson to the PF government not to just spend money irrelevantly when the people are in dire need of development. If government continues with this trend of by-elections they are just depriving people of development,” she said.

Ms Kalima said now that she has bounced back into Parliament she was ready to face Vice-President Guy Scott and Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone whom she alleged had demonized her.

And MMD losing candidate for Solwezi Central Lucky Mulusa said he has no intention of petitioning the outcome.

Mr Mulusa was defeated by UPND’s Dawson Kafwaya.

UPND losing candidate for Zambezi West Charles Kakoma could not be reached for a comment as his mobile phone was unreachable.

MMD national secretary Muhabi Lungu said Ms Kalima retained her seat because she was more grounded and well prepared than any other candidate.

He, however, said MMD was disappointed with its performance in Vubwi and Solwezi Central but alleged that PF used public resources to ensure that they won.

UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa charged that PF stole its victory in  Zambezi West.

Mr Mweetwa said in an interview from Solwezi yesterday that the voting in Zambezi West was characterized by malpractices and electoral corruption.

The PF has scooped three seats – Zambezi West, Mkushi and Vubwi – out of five parliamentary by-elections held on Thursday, while the MMD and UPND shared one each in Solwezi Central and Kasenengwa.

The win in three by-elections brings the number of MPs for PF to 82 including eight nominated legislators. The number of MPs for MMD has declined to 37 while UPND has 32.

Three other seats, Petauke Central, Malambo and Mulobezi, are still vacant and will only be filled after the court determines controversies surrounding them.

The opposition Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) and Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) has one seat each while two others are held by independent candidates.