The cross-party co-operation of Zambian female politicians has lead to condemnation of the political violence that took place in the country in 2013. In their mutual statement, the women appeal to political parties for a peaceful co-existence. “Violence is detrimental and a hindrance to the participation of citizens, including women and youths, in the political and governance processes of the country”, the women say.
Together with the Zambia National Women’s Lobby, Demo coordinates a project which aims at strengthening the political participation of women especially at local level. One of the objectives is also to bring together female politicians, in order for them to be able to make their voices heard more effectively in decision-making. In November, women from different political parties gathered in the project’s advisory group meeting, and together they decided to take a stance on political violence. Representatives from the following parties were present in the meeting: Patriotic Front, United Party for National Development, Alliance for Better Zambia, National Restoration Party, MMD, UNIP and Forum for Democracy.
“We the leadership of the women’s wings executive committees and some female members of the national executive committees of various political parties gathered here at the Zambia National Women’s Lobby have noted with concern, the increasing incidents of political violence that occurred in 2013 in the country amongst political parties and sometimes within political parties.”
The female politicians emphasize that political violence is a serious problem that political parties should not ignore. Political violence is one of the main reasons for women not to take part in elections or join political parties, which further decreases the amount of women in political processes.
“As women in politics, we pledge to co-exist and collaborate despite our different political inclinations and views for the sake of contributing to the uplifting of the status of women in Zambia in political representation and participation.”