The Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) has questioned the omission of Zambia’s first female Republican Vice President Inonge Mutukwa Wina from the inaugural King Lewanika Royal Meritocracy awards during Kuomboka ceremony of the Lozi people.
The Litunga Lubosi Imwiko II, recognized 13 distinguished women in what were inaugural royal meritocracy awards during the Kuomboka ceremony held in Western Province at the weekend.
Mrs Wina was conspicuously missing from the inaugural list thereby raising debate on social media that the omission has politicised the awards.
Among those awarded are Speaker of the National Assembly Nelly Mutti, prominent Lusaka lawyer Mwangala Zaloumis, Zambia’s first woman cabinet minister Mutumba Bull and Ireen Muyenga who has excelled in the insurance industry.
Others are Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika who was the first woman to lead a political party in Zambia, first woman inspector general of police Stella Libongani, the late princess Nakatindi Wina, Zambia’s first nurse Kapelwa Sikota and former director general of immigration department Ndiyoi Mutiti.
In a media statement, NGOCC Executive Director Anne Mbewe Anamela said while it is the preserve of the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to honour deserving recipients the awards were questionable without the mention of Zambia’s first elected female Vice President Inonge Wina.
Mrs Anamela said NGOCC feels that as a politician and earlier, as a gender activist, Mrs. Wina has contributed immensely to Zambia’s development and surely deserved recognition.
“While it is the preserve of the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) to honor deserving recipients, we are of the view that these awards are inconclusive without the mention of Zambia’s first elected female Vice President Madam Inonge Wina. As a politician and earlier, as a gender activist, Ms. Wina has contributed immensely to our Country’s development and surely deserved recognition,” Mrs Anamela stated.
Mrs. Anamela, however, said NGOCC has congratulated the thirteen (13) female recipients of the inaugural King Lewanika Royal Meritocracy award for their distinguished service to the country and the world at large.
She said it was pleasing that despite the entrenched patriarchy in local customs and traditions, women continue to excel in different spheres of life.
Mrs Anamela said the recognition of women is a testament to the fact that given the opportunity women, just like men can contribute to the development of Zambia.
“The Non-governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) congratulates the thirteen (13) female recipients of the inaugural King Lewanika Royal Meritocracy award for their distinguished service to the country and the world at large. The awards that were part of the 2022 prestigious Kuomboka ceremony of the Lozi people of Western Province are the first of their kind to honor deserving and outstanding women and men from Barotseland, who have served Zambia and the world well,” she said.
“It is gratifying that despite the entrenched patriarchy in our customs and traditions, women continue to excel in different spheres of life. This is, therefore, a testament to the fact that given the opportunity women, just like men, can contribute to the development of our country, Zambia,” Mrs Anamela said.
She further appealed to the New Dawn Government to fully operationalise the Gender Equity and Equality Act (GEEA) as a way of facilitating the establishment of the Gender Commission to enable gender mainstreaming in public and private sectors.
“To ensure that women’s participation is enhanced, we appeal to the New Dawn Government to immediately fully operationalise the Gender Equity and Equality Act (GEEA), to facilitate the establishment of the Gender Commission to enable gender mainstreaming in public and private sectors. As the women’s movement, we congratulate the BRE and King Litunga LubosiImwiko (II) for the bold step taken to recognise the thirteen women as the recipients of the inaugural Royal award,” Mrs. Anamela.
“We have no doubt that this single decision will motivate and inspire more girls, beyond Barotseland, to work hard and contribute to the development of the country. It is our hope that other traditional leaders will emulate this gesture as a way of bridging the wide gender gaps in the country, especially in rural Zambia. A hearty congratulations to all the gallant women that received the awards,” she added.
Meanwhile, Investment Development Consultant to the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) Joseph Maopu has been quoted in the media saying some people left out during the awards may be considered in future.
Mr. Maopu has said more than fifty hundred (5,000) women of eminence from Barotseland who could all have been on the award list.
“These are annual awards from now on, thus every year men and women from Barotse will be awarded by his majesty the king, he added that the men and women that did not find themselves on the list of those that were awarded are likely to be awarded in the years to come,” Mr. Maopu said.
During a luncheon hosted in honor of President Hakainde Hichilema by the Litunga at the Limulunga Royal Village, Litunga Lubosi Imwiko the second said the awards are aimed at appreciating women who have shown rare skill and bravery in their execution of duty.
In a speech read for him by the Ngambela of Barotseland Mukela Manyando, Litunga said the award is aimed at inspiring young people to work hard and serve society with merit.
President Hichilema handed over the awards to the 13 women, two of whom were given posthumously.