Lungu targets vices against girls, women

PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says traditional leaders throughout the country will not work alone in stopping gender based violence, early marriages and other vices that work against the promotion of girl child and women’s decent livelihood.

And 37 traditional leaders have resolved to speak with a united voice without regard to any sectional, political or religious considerations under the house of chiefs about the need for unity.

President Lungu said traditional leaders should count on him in the fight against girl child injustices and other gender based violence.

He was addressing traditional leaders and United Nations (UN)representatives in Chief Nyamphande area during the launch of  “He for She” programme in Petauke yesterday.

President Lungu said his Government was concerned about the increase in early marriages, maternal health and minimal number of women participating in the political governance of the country.

“You will not work alone, count on me in ensuring that we uplift the dreams of a girl child. Let’s fight early marriages and pregnancies together. Let’s promote our women to come in large numbers and participate in the political governance of the nation,” said President Lungu.

President Lungu noted the important role traditional leaders play in national unity through imparting good values in children.

He said this was the main reason his Government introduced the Ministry of Chiefs and Tradition Affairs in order to enhance and integrate traditional leadership in the governance system.

President Lungu also said that it was gratifying that the “He for She” programme had started in á rural area rather than urban for easy acceptance. He also challenged women to produce a female President. And House of chiefs chairperson chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo 11 said traditional leaders were committed to the values of promoting dialogue as a value in the development of the nation.

“We resolve to continue supporting peace and unity especially after celebrating God’s favour and smooth political transitions since Zambia gained independence. But let’s be mindful that we cannot take this continued peace, unity, democracy and prosperity for granted,” she said.

The Chieftainess said traditional leaders had resolved to commit to values of peace, dialogue and understanding when dealing with Government and other relevant stakeholders in addressing issues pertaining to authority in customary land matters, civil and pet crimes in basic social service delivery.

Chieftainess Nkomeshya also said there was need for Government to seriously consider elevating the House of chiefs into an upper chamber of the national assembly.