Zambian Women Silent No More
From key issues that include poor sanitation infrastructure, a poor educational system and no support for the vulnerable in society, Zambians continue to be subjected to a multitude of socio-economic issues that could easily be resolved through better policy making.In a continent that has its fair share of examples of extremes, Zambia has been comparatively unexceptional and is often ignored by international media. In recent months however, Zambia has caught the attention of international media for a series of events.
This has included the arrest of an opposition leader and trial for activists who protested against a government purchase of 42 fire trucks for $42 million.To call for the need for policy makers to better protect citizens, the non-partisan “Silent No More” or “Kwatha” (which means “it’s over” in Nsenga) campaign was created by Zambian activists to campaign for a better Zambia for all. This campaign brings together women from varying backgrounds who share the view that their socio-economic conditions can be drastically improved by those in positions of power.
A peaceful public introspection was meant to be held on Friday 18 May 2018. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the event was put on hold. In the meantime, the campaign still has momentum as these women continue to refuse to remain silent about socio-economic issues affecting them and policy makers continued inability to effectively lead and protect Zambian citizens.
Although the campaign is led by women, it is open to all and has attracted engagement from both men and women. On a general global scale, it does go without saying that although it is essential to privilege the position of both men and women in society, women are disproportionally affected by developmental issues. Despite the global adoption of gender policies that are aimed at ensuring that men and women equally participate and benefit from the development of states, most guidelines still remain gender blind.
Through social media platforms, through #kwatha , Zambian citizens have over the past few months expressed what they are saying no to.In the absence of effective and inclusive policies people will continue to be left behind. The role of activists groups such as this one is therefore important in reminding citizens that the countries current state of affairs should be better. In an increasingly hostile environment that does not react well to citizens speaking up various groups of activists who continue to speak up are very brave.
The views and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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