Bibian Nyeleti – Zambia

Bibian Nyeleti – Zambia

Date: July 1, 2015
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This world needs women’s participation, just like a desert needs water. Equitable participation of women in politics and government is really a big challenge. More women are interested in politics but only a few women are elected as officials.

Councillor Bibian Nyeleti Mayaya is one of the brave women who struggled to be where she is today; she is the first female councillor in her ward.

I am a Zambian resident born on June 28, 1966. I attended both primary and secondary education, although I continued with secondary education as a night school student because I didn’t do very well at secondary level. I am a cross border business woman and I am married.

Gender Links and I were meant to work together. Before I met Gender Links, I received a call from Gender Links South Africa in 2011 to attend the Gender Justice and Local Government summit. However, due to certain circumstances, I couldn’t attend the summit. I then finally met Gender Links at the Training of Trainers (TOT) workshop at Accams Roma Lodge on 20th September, 2012 in Lusaka.

I am a Councillor, a policy maker and I represent my community at the local level. I made a decision to become a politician in 2001. By then, the Patriotic Front party was in opposition. I joined politics with the aim of becoming one of the decision markers; I took this step because I had a vision to contribute to the development of my ward.

Being the first female councillor in my ward is a great achievement, and it makes a difference because I am able to initiate developmental activities that benefit each and every household. I respect people despite their status in society, and I don’t believe in politics of insults. I wasn’t elected to insult people; I was elected by my people because voters saw a confident and respected woman in me. My people know I am capable of making a difference in their lives. I am a leader and I ensure that whatever I do I engage the local community, I work for these people and I should not abandon them.

I am able to make a difference and fulfill my promises. A visionary leader will always stick to the campaign promises. In my political career, I have had experiences to a point where my family wanted me to withdraw because last year’s elections were violent. I remember when a named MP mobilised and paid part of the electorate to rise against me. They began attacking me in all possible ways, vulgar language was used against me, they said women cannot compete with men, and that my role is in the kitchen and not in politics.

I knew God chose me to be a leader and I am glad I was elected. I want to appreciate Gender Links for teaching and disseminating important information about gender and governance; it is a good thing that Gender Links is partners with local government.

The skills, knowledge, values, knowledge and attitude that I have gained through Gender Links are to show good leadership, good governance, and skills to be a gender champion, to change the attitude of men so they know that even women are capable of being decision makers.  I believe that it is my role to make a difference in the lives of other women, and I have been able to be a good example to my fellow women. I have inspired many women, and others now articulate issues of gender and governance.  I have transformed other people’s lives through my work as a councillor by engaging them in community projects; I ensure I consult them before I make a decision.

My future plan is to upgrade my skills and contest as a Member of Parliament. I urge men to advocate for gender equality and support women standing for various positions. Please Gender Links, continue holding such important workshops so that people can learn and become gender activists, because when you hurt a woman, you hurt the whole nation.



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