Minister of Finance Margaret Mwanakatwe says it is “grossly unfair” to verbally attack her, particularly through social media, over a video of her apparently dozing during recent deliberations of the National Dialogue Forum (NDF).
A video clip has gone viral on social media showing Mrs Mwanakatwe seemingly sleepy during deliberations of the NDF.
The minister, who was reluctant to comment on the issue in an interview yesterday, said she is tired of people mocking her on social media.
“I am tired of this topic to be honest, and I don’t think it’s a topic to be discussed, I am tired…. you know!
“It’s just been so grossly unfair,and why should we keep perpetuating it? You know, it’s just been so unfair,” she said. And in a statement yesterday, Non-Governmental Gender Organisations’ Coordinating Council (NGOCC) executive director Engwase Mwale urged Zambians to help women contribute objectively to the dictates of their public offices.
Ms Mwale urged the public to support the few women occupying public offices as opposed to demonising them.
“Following the video of Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe that has gone viral on social media, we have been inundated with media queries on the supposed dozing and seemingly tired minister. “The video appears to be related to the matter that was brought to the attention of the National Dialogue Forum following a point of order by one of the delegates,” Ms Mwale said.
She said NGOCC has over the years bemoaned the low numbers of women in decision-making positions, especially in politics. Ms Mwale said NGOCC is restrained from commenting on the video because it does not have full details of the circumstances and condition in which the minister was at the time.
“In this regard, we would like to go along with the verdict as passed by the standing orders committee of the National Dialogue Forum, which cleared the minister of any wrong-doing. “It is this position we shall rely upon as the reflection of events related to the video in question,” Ms Mwale said.
She said it is, however, NGOCC’s position that leaders, female and male, should conduct themselves in line with the decorum of their offices.
Ms Mwale said NGOCC expects public leadership to be exercised with utmost professionalism and integrity.
“In the same vein, it is public responsibility to hold our leaders to account with positive criticism and fair judgement on their capacity to perform and deliver to citizens’ expectations,” she said.