In a statement to review 2019, the NGOCC stated that Zambians must not allow politics to divide them.
“We would like to appeal to all Zambians to put the country first in everything that we do. Before anything else, we are all Zambians with a duty to advance our country’s development pathway. By virtue of our collective resolve to uphold the ‘One Zambia, One Nation Motto’, we are all one people, female and male, regardless of tribe, colour, creed or political affiliation. Therefore, let us not allow politics or anything else to divide our great country,” it stated.
The organisation however bemoaned inequality levels in Zambia that remained high in 2019 around 0.525, indicated by low numbers of women in leadership positions, coupled with challenges in accessing health services, especially maternal health facilities for women as well as low education progression rates to higher levels by female learners.
“Even though the country has made strides in infrastructure development such as roads, schools and health posts, we note from our monitoring visits that most projects are yet to be finalised. Further, the newly launched 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) Report states that Zambia has made improvements between 1990 and 2018 with the HDI value increasing from 0.424 to 0.591, an increase of 39.7 percent thereby ranking the country at 143 out of 189 countries and territories which puts the country in the medium human development category. This improvement is based on the three indicators: Life Expectancy, Schooling Years and Expected Years of Schooling. Life expectancy at birth increased by 14.3 years from 49.2 years in 1990 to 63.5 years in 2018. On the other hand, schooling years increased by 2.4 years while the expected years of schooling increased by 4.5 years,” NGOCC stated.
“Despite all these positives, we are aware that the country is still faced with a number of challenges which continued to impact on the livelihoods of the majority citizens during 2019. For example, not too long ago, we witnessed yet again increases in electricity tariffs and fuel pump prices, further straining the already economically constrained majority citizens.”
On debt, it said the women’s movement remains deeply concerned with the country’s indebtedness, with the latest official figures indicating a total of US$10.23 billion external debt as at end of June 2019.
Domestic debt in terms of securities and bonds as at end June 2019 also rose to K60.3 billion. NGOCC is aware that debt repayments have had a toll on government’s expenditure on and provision of social services such as education, health and social protection,” it stated.
“We have sadly witnessed reduced funding allocation for most institutional operations within government during the year which has negatively impacted on the most vulnerable in our society, the majority being the women and children. For example, we have noted the compromised quality of education due to absence of basic learning materials and equipment; health institutions have not been spared from the pressure of overstretched facilities and services including limited availability of essential drugs.”
On Constitution Bill 10, it stated that it was its submission to the Parliamentary committee that the Bill contains some progressive and a number of retrogressive provisions.
“We are, therefore, happy that the Parliamentary Committee agreed with our position on a number of clauses that we submitted which are articulated in the Committee’s Report. Going forward, we would like to appeal to the Government to consider adopting the report of the Parliamentary Committee especially on the aspect of subjecting this important Constitution reform process to more broad-based consultation. In this regard, NGOCC will in 2020, engage both the ruling party and opposition political parties to find resolve to the impasse on the Constitution making process,” NGOCC stated.
On gender based violence, it stated that increased cases of Gender Based Violence (GBV) every year were of great concern to the women’s movement in Zambia.
“Going by the 2019 statistics, it is clear that this scourge is on the upswing and still carrying a female face due to the continued marginalization and vulnerability of many women and girls. This can be illustrated through statistics which indicate that from a total of 773 child defilement cases recorded in the third quarter of 2019, 770 cases or 99.6% were against girls while only 3 cases or 0.4% were against boys. In response to this challenge, NGOCC in September 2019, convened a multi-stakeholder National Indaba to find solutions to this crisis. The Indaba was unanimous in acknowledging that all citizens have a role to play in order to put a stop to this dehumanizing vice by ending the culture of silence around GBV and taking specific actions to bring all perpetrators to justice,” it stated.