The Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has voiced its disappointment regarding the removal of Chushi Kasanda as Minister of Information and Media in a recent ministerial reshuffle by President Hakainde Hichilema. The move has prompted concerns from NGOCC about the decreasing representation of women in the Zambian Cabinet.
President Hichilema, on Monday evening, appointed Cornelius Mweetwa, the immediate past Southern Province Minister, as the new Minister of Information and Media, effectively replacing Ms. Kasanda.
NGOCC, an umbrella organization representing various non-governmental gender-focused groups, emphasized the need for gender balance in decision-making positions. They expressed their belief that President Hichilema’s decision to replace Hon. Kasanda with another male minister further exacerbates the issue.
“While recognizing the constitutional discretion given to the appointing authority to hire and dismiss, the Head of State should have considered replacing Hon. Kasanda with another woman or transferring her to another Ministry,” lamented Anne Mbewe Anamela, the Executive Director of NGOCC, in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“Over the years, NGOCC and the women’s movement in general have been deeply concerned with the low numbers of women in decision-making positions as this adversely impacts the development trajectory since decisions are made devoid of women’s voices. It is critical that when making decisions, the unique needs of women, men, girls, and boys should be taken into consideration. It is, therefore, sad to note that the number of women remains low both at Parliamentary and local Government levels,” Ms. Anamela stated.
Furthermore, Ms. Anamela noted the reduction in female representation in the Cabinet following Hon. Kasanda’s removal. She also highlighted the dismissal of Ms. Anne Songolo, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, and expressed hope that Ms. Songolo would be replaced by another woman.
In the same statement, Ms. Anamela extended her congratulations to Princess Kasune on her appointment as Provincial Minister for Central Province. She expressed confidence that Hon. Kasune would provide the leadership needed to drive development in the province.
Article 259 of the Republican Constitution emphasizes the importance of gender balancing in appointments to various positions. NGOCC reiterated that sustainable development could only be achieved when women, who make up 51 percent of the population, are included in the decision-making and development processes.