Zambia: Kafula Mutale

Date: February 19, 2020
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Name Kafula P
Surname Mutale
Country Zambia
Give a short history of the leader I am predominantly from financial services sector. In 2016, I consciously decided to run for office of the area councillor of John Howard Ward 3 in Chawama Constituency. I had been in that community for over 14 years, and convinced myself I could make a difference in this community and change the lives of the people living in it in my own little way. While in office, I worked closely with the Deputy Mayor (who was female at the time), who introduced me to the Swedish Internationational Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD), where I had the privilege of undergoing 2 programmes; 1) Gender Mainstreaming and Social Inclusion and 2) Capacitating Women in Politics. The 2 programmess gave me a deeper understanding and meaning of gender. I appreciated the fact that we live in the world where the voiceless, if not lifted by talking on their behalf or including them in our day to day programmings, they shall forever remain down troden upon. I was appointed the LCC Gender Champion and started advocating for Gender Equality and Equity. It has not been easy convincing the male folks on why they should support women, and convincing women on why they should support each other, and convincing some sections of society on why even the differently abled must be allowed to assume decision-making positions in society. I remember asking the Director of Human Resources to give me statistics on the number of council drivers showing how many were Male and how many were Female. It was found that the council had only 1 femae driver out of over 100 drivers. I suggested to him that before the end of 2020, I needed to see a female driver for His Worship the Mayor.
Objectives “BE THE CHANGE THAT I WANT”. I want to be a better agent of change when it comes to social inclusion. I have started in my own small way, but will not give up. Everyone must be brought to the round table and participate in the development of our communities, which will translate in the development of our District, and the Nation at large. I am trying everything I can in changing peoples mindset and perceptions so that they can better understand that together (male, female, youths and differently-abled), we can achieve more.
Key activities I am a civic leader representing a peri-urban community where literacy levels are very low. On a daily basis, I have to deal with people’s issues like paying their monthly rent, paying school fees for their children, encroachments on road reserves, early marriages, under age drinking, substance abuse by the youths, funerals, floodings when its rain season, boundary disputes and many more challenges. When you come to a solution when residents present you with a problem, the unsatisfied party would resent you and call you names, even where it is clear that such a party is in the wrong. It is a tough balancing act that I have to do on a daily basis. The technique I use where I have 2 factions that are wary of each other is to hear them separately to avoid fights that may break out if they come to see meat the same time and in the same room. I get insulted and deamned by the losing faction, I have just told me myself that the cross I chose to carry in 2016, must remin with me until I reach 2021, when people will have to make another decision to elect a leader of their choice. I must admit, sometimes I feel discouraged and wonder why I chose this path to an extent of resigning, but I quickly remind myself that I wanted to leave a legacy in my community, whether positive or negative. So, I reassure myself and carry on, as long as I do everything within the confines of the law.
Key challenges Challenges are many. Recently, we had committee chairpersons elections, and my male counterparts I approached to vote for women candidates were stubborn to change their minds. Two male candidates were standing against 2 female candidates in 2 different committees, and I approached them to pave way for female candidates, but they reacted badly to that advice to an extent of using unpallatable language on me. Howver, I continued on that campaign trail among other male counterparts in the 2 committee until the female contenders emerged victorious. The challenge I noticed here was that some male counterparts still believe women can’t do better than them. What needs to be inculcated in our doubting Thomases is that everyone must be given equal opportunities to participate in an environment free of intimidation.


Change at the individual level Champion the gender agenda has made me realise that in ones life journey, one must be all embracing in order to achieve higher heights. I have experienced a lot of joy in providing that much needed stepping stone for the marginalised and socially excluded population of our society, as I watch them stand up and speak for themselves without butting an eye. My life life has changed because I have a bigger heart to accomodate others, and I now listen more to everyone speaking so I can also learn from them, ICLD training has been responsible for this change.
Evidence of change at the individual level After my presentations, I have been applauded by the audience and the event organisers. I am now used to stand in front of a huge national or international audience and present my work with ease.
Notable quotes would go like “That was a brilliant presentation, Kafula”, Shannon Lovgren, ICLD, Programme Officer.
“Wow, that was a lovely talk despite the short notice”, Bwalya Funga, LCC, Senior Community Development Officer
Change at the household level Having been brought up in a patriarchal home and thought and believed that was the way to do things, it wasn’t easy to acknowledge that I should not be imposing on my household. I have now embraced the new belief that we must treat each other as equal partners in whatever we are doing, be it cooking, washing, shopping. As I type this testimony, I am living alone at home as I have agrred with my wife that she should go and pursue further studies abroad without conditions. Our children are in boarding and University. I am home alone!
Evidence of change at the household level As I am leaving alone, it means I cook for myself, I sweep the house myself, I wash my clothes myself. I don’t have a house helper, so I do things alone.
“Will you manage to stay alone the whole year while your wife is away?”, Mr. Bupe H Liempe, Self-Employed, Consultant
Change at institutional level I have started bringing a topic each day on one particular SDG for discussion in our various blogs. I ask the group members to look at the “SDG of the Day”, as I call it, and discuss it in depth. I then ask them how their community is doing in terms of meeting that particular SDG. This initiative is aimed at leaving no one behind in terms of understanding and appreciating the SDGs. Such networking provides a platform for others to learn from, leaving no one behind.
Evidence of change at institutional level I have started bringing a topic each day on one particular SDG for discussion in our various blogs. I ask the group members to look at the “SDG of the Day”, as I call it, and discuss it in depth. I then ask them how their community is doing in terms of meeting that particular SDG. This initiative is aimed at leaving no one behind in terms of understanding and appreciating the SDGs. Such networking provides a platform for others to learn from, leaving no one behind.
Change at a policy level Lusaka City Council launched the Social Inclusion and Gender Mainstreaming Policy on 9 June 2018. LCC has gone further and established the Institutional Gender Mainstreaming Committee which draws membership from all departments. At National Level, there is National Gender Policy which was revised in December 2014. The Head of State, His Excellency Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is on record support Gender Mainstreaming, hence being Gender Champion Number 1. He has appointed many women and youths to positions of decision making. His Vice President is female, Mama Inonge Mutukwa Wina.
Evidence of change at a policy level LCC has a gender mainstreaming committee which looks at issues of gender in the organisation. LCC prepares a gender-responsive budget annually. Gender is being mainstreamed when it comes to Local Area Planning. LCC ensures gender mainstreaming in all its programming and activities.
Capacity building I have built capacity in others by doing presentations to different international groups, the recent one being the visiting delegation of female councillors from Malawi. I have given a presentation at ICLD new cohort here in Lusaka at Best Western Hotel. I have also given a presentation at another ICLD group here in Lusaka at Cresta Golf View. I have also given a presentation to an ICLD group in Lusaka at LCC in the Council Chamber. I believe in doing these presentations, I have built capacity in others.
Lessons learned and shared I have learnt that the saying that “no man is an island” is indeed true, as one majority interest group can’t be the only one to superetend over the community or other minority interest groups. All interest groups need to coexist so that all needs from everyone are discussed and addressed. I have learnt that when one population of people is not represented during the Local Area Planning process, such plans will impose what other population groups decided, and the group that was left out may not own such plans as they will be alien to them, or they may be forced to accept them without necessarily believing in them. This pauses a challenge when it comes to implementation because it would be difficult to implement what you don’t understand in the first place. It is, therefore, very abundantly clear that we should involve male, female, boys and girls in all our Local Area Plans. We should be gender-responsive in all our programming and activities
Next Steps I intend to use my position as Gender Champion to push the Gender Mainstreaming Agenda to greater heights. I will take advantage of this to promote gender mainstreaming at whatever platform I am availed with, be it in church, in the community, in schools and at the council. As a Change Agent, the onus is on me to change the mindsets of many people who may be discriminating against other groups on the basis of gender either knowingly or unknowingly. I intend to engage school going children whenever I visit their schools so that they start internalising the issues of gender at a young age, and grow up appreciating the fact that in this world, everone must be treated equally. They should realise that there is no such thing as a “special” group in society, but that everyone is equal and must work very hard to achieve their dreams.