Zambians deserve better at 53 years- Engwase B. Mwale
By Whitney Mulobela and Evans Sinjela
THE Non Governmental Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) Executive Director says Zambians deserve better livelihood as her gender empowerment team joined the rest of the country in commemorating 53 years of Zambia’s independence this Tuesday, 24th October 2017 under the theme, “Celebrating our Freedom for continued Peace, Unity, Patriotism and Development.”
While the country has made some remarkable progress in a number of sectors since October 24th 1964, Ms. Mwale says much still needs to be done to make independence more meaningful to all Zambians.
Ms. Mwale regrets that it is sad that fifty-three (53) years after independence, 54.5 % of citizens still live in abject poverty.
It is clear that the majority of the citizens are not fully independent as they are still under economic slavery in their own country. As the country commemorates this year’s independence it is critical that our leaders take stock of the country’s development deficiencies that must be addressed. While appreciating the positive plans outlined in the Seventh National Development Plan (SNDP), there is need for more targeted interventions that will help in reducing the existing inequalities and poverty levels in the country, especially in rural areas. It is saddening that half a century through after independence, we can still have majority citizens having challenges with accessing quality medical facilities and clean drinking water and sanitation. This has resulted in increased mortality rates for women and children. It is therefore imperative that these challenges are redressed in a more concerted manner if the country is to realize its development goals,”cried Ms. Mwale.
Further, it is also of great concern that Zambia’s legal framework still discriminates against
women as evidenced by the low numbers of women representatives at local government level (9%) and in the National Assembly (17%). As Zambia commemorates this year’s independence, it is high time that the country moves towards putting in place measures that will ensure inclusiveness for both women and men to participate and equally benefit from the country’s development processes. Zambia will only be on its path to achieving sustainable development if women and men work together.
It is NGOCC’s expectation that government, through our leadership, will strive to create an environment where peace is nurtured and unity of purpose is embraced across Zambia’s vast ethnic, ideological and geographical spread. We also call upon all citizens to rise up and exercise the highest levels of patriotism and guard our country’s sovereignty”,”prodded Ms. Mwale.
As Zambia reflects on her independence theme, Ms. Mwale urged leaders, both in the ruling and opposition political parties to address the current political tension and refocus the country’s priorities on nation building. Happy 53rd Birthday Zambia!