Jean Namukonda – Zambia

Jean Namukonda – Zambia

Date: July 1, 2015
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Councillor Jean Namukonda, Deputy Mayor in the Chililabombwe Council recalled how she was insulted by the man who she stood against to become the deputy mayor. However, in spite of negative experiences, she received extensive civil society support.The support that Councillor Namukonda got from the ZNWL was in the form of campaign materials, T-shirts and chitenge’s with the slogan – vote for women, and bicycles so that they could go campaigning proved a great help. Councillor Sakala has attended three workshops convened by the ZNWL, covering issues such as project management, resource mobilisation, advocacy and lobbying.

Peer support has been an obvious enabling factor during her time in office. There may be some councils where women will not consider crossing party lines to form women’s caucuses, but in the Chililabombwe council where there are six women councillors (4 PF and 2 MMD), and these stand together. “We are all one actually, when we are out it’s about politics but when we are here we are all together as one for the interests of the community – we work together”.

With the slogan “Ifetenge kuntanshe” (women should lead and men should follow) Councillor Namukonda has become a force to be reckoned with. Elected as Deputy Mayor of the Chililabombwe Municipal council in 2007 after being a councillor for just one year, Namukonda is also a business woman, who sells clothes across the region. Stylishly dressed when researchers met her on the side of a dusty road in Chililabombwe, she spoke passionately about what she has done in her community. Clearing away a dumpsite in the middle of the community, which was both an obstruction as well as a health hazard, is one of the councillor’s great achievements.

She further told researchers that her council has implemented a policy to ensure that 30 percent of all plots allocated go to women. She stresses the importance of women sitting on the panel of interviews, if only to remind the men, who are in the majority, of the importance of complying with this policy. She sees women owning land as an empowerment issue, saying that when marriages end, as they sometimes do, it is always the woman that is left with nothing because the man controls the land, “So if he says she must go and she doesn’t have a house she could end up on the street, so we want to lessen that.” Educating women and sensitising them to these facts is part of her mission, “We encourage and sensitise women to put the plot into their own name so that it is her land and she is protected if anything happens”.

During her time in office, she also approached an energy corporation which was working in the area and requested that they grade the road in her ward. She then used the 2 million kwacha WDF to buy crushed stones to patch some of the roads. She is in the process of asking the government for money to tar the road that leads to the hospital so that it is more accessible to the community.



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