First it was the Patriotic Front (PF) women who expressed disappointment when the United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema chose Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, popularly known as GBM, as his running mate.
Now it is the PF deputy spokesperson Frank Bwalya who has also raised the same concerns, citing the same reason as the women in the party on why the choice of GBM should be roundly condemned.
The issue here is GBM was in the news for beating his wife Chama when he was Kasama Central PF Member of Parliament.
Mwamba beat up Chama at their Kabulonga residence in Lusaka after a marital dispute and later shocked the nation when he said he beat up his wife because he loves her.
The news shocked the nation, especially the gender organisations who understandably raised concerns at GBM’s ‘defence.’
We are backgrounding this beating with the beating of a woman by another public figure, the musician Clifford Dimba, alias ‘General Kanene’, who was jailed for the offence.
Kanene was later made ambassador against gender- based violence, a move that the NGOCC chairperson one Sara Longwe condemned, forcing President Edgar Lungu to revoke it on the ground that the musician faced allegations of gender-based violence.
Now here we are again witnessing another self-confessed wife batterer GBM being chosen as a running mate for the main opposition party and yet the women groupings are all mum.
What is going on here?
We can assure the NGOCC and other women groupings in Zambia that they have made one step forward and made several other retrogressive moves backwards to the stone age in their fight against gender equality.
Before this shameful act of keeping silent, women in Zambia can be commended for advancing towards equality and claiming their right to participate competitively in the once male-dominated spheres of society.
We say this since we feel gender equality must ensure that women are active without experiencing any form of discrimination, harassment or assault of any form.
So if they keep silent in the midst of an obvious affront on their equality crusade, then we wonder the agenda of the so called gender activists, who have deafened our ears with equality talk.
Going by this shameful act in the gender fight, we are even wondering if the proponents of gender equality have read the PF manifesto on gender.
The manifesto is working towards achieving the prescribed threshold of women representation in decision making as prescribed in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995); the SADC Declaration on Gender and Development (1997); and, the Millennium Declaration and Development Goals (2000).
To this effect many women have been appointed to positions of decision making, such as the Republican Vice-President, Chief Justice, Head of the Anti- Corruption Commission, Auditor General, Head of the Drug Enforcement Commission, President of the Constitutional Court, and Judge President of the Court of Appeal, among others.
During the five years of the Patriotic Front Government, the Gender Policy has been revised, the SADC protocol of 50/50 has been passed by Cabinet, the Gender Equity and Equality Bill was passed by Parliament and the President of the Republic of Zambia has assented to the Constitution, re-affirming Patriotic Front’s commitment to Gender Equality.
Additionally, Zambia has co-sponsored with Canada a United Nations Resolution on ending child marriages; and co-sponsored with Switzerland a United Nations Resolution on stopping the spread of HIV and AIDS by 2030.
In the period 2016-2021, the Patriotic Front will continue to adopt the greatest number of women as parliamentary candidates as well as at Councillor level to help achieve the 50/50 threshold.
We are educating the inept gender groups in Zambia that all this can only happen if we have leaders who respect the will of women as being as important as that of men since democracy without women is impossible.
If we fail to act on behalf of the current and future female leaders in our world, the cost to our democracies will be too high.
We are not only referring to GBM’s wife battery incident that happened in 2012 but to the recent scandal that took place only last week when the politician called Dora Siliya, the Energy Minister ichiwelewele (shallow-minded) simply because she questioned his academic qualifications.
With this misogynistic traits, we wonder what will be GBM’s take on gender rights if he was voted into power?