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Is Zambia Ready for a Woman President?

Edith Nawakwi of Zambia
Edith Nawakwi of Zambia
Is Zambia Ready for a Woman President?
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Edith Nawakwi is the only female candidate for president of Zambia. She represents the Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) party

“We are not in the race because I am a woman,” she says. “I feel that among the candidates standing in Zambia, I think we possess the opportunity to do much better than my colleagues. I think for a long time in Zambia, the voters are saying that it’s an opportune time for a female candidate.”

Her critics say she will never be elected. They say she is running just to reduce the votes for the other candidates.

But Ms. Nawakwi says her party is the most respected political organization in Zambia today – especially because the other political parties are fighting with themselves. The current ruling party and the main opposition party have each selected two candidates. Neither party can agree on a single candidate.

Ms. Nawakwi also says she is the only person in the race who can stop corruption in the country.

She says, “The root cause of corruption is embedded in the over centralized government system. The very nature of governance where excessive powers are given to the presidency is what causes corruption. And we are saying that the best way to deal with corruption is to decentralize political and economic powers.”

She says most Africans are poor today because a lot of people – especially women and youth -- have been left behind. If elected, Ms. Nawakwi says she will share political and economic power, and not leave it all in the hands of the government.

Zambians will vote on January 20 in a special election to replace President Michael Sata, who died in October 2014.

I’m Anna Matteo.

James Butty reported this story. Kelly Jean Kelly wrote it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.


Words in This Story

opportune adj. right for a particular situation

excessive adj. going beyond what is usual, normal, or proper

centralized adj. under the control of one authority