By JOHN KOMBE
SOME traditional leaders in Chongwe and Rufunsa have rejected the idea of empowering married women with land ownership, describing it as a recipe for marital conflicts.
The traditional leaders made the observation during a one day engagement meeting for traditional leaders, women subordinates and civic leaders in Chongwe yesterday. The event was organised by Voice of the Just Climate Action (VCA) and its partners.
The headmen were responding to a call by Keep Zambia Foundation Director, Ezra Banda who challenged the traditional leaders to embrace change by recognizing that women were equal partners in development. He urged them to empower women with land in the same manner that the male folk were being empowered.
However the headmen described the idea as being against the traditional norms. Headman Tiki of Chongwe said that empowering married women with land was a recipe for conflicts in marriages and must not be entertained. According to headman Tiki, the husband is the head of the family and as such women could only own land in partnership with their husbands.
Another traditional leader, headwoman Malisawa of Rufunsa said that the idea must not even be entertained as it would destroy marriages. She said that women must just learn to communicate with their husbands if they need to use a piece of land for any venture.
And Rufunsa district commissioner, Richard Mabena implored the traditional leaders to consider empowering women with land ownership.
He stressed that women were in the majority and as such needed to be heard. He noted that it was for this reason that the UPND government had elevated a number of women to key government positions. He said that this must be emulated by the traditional leaders who are very important stakeholders in development.
Meanwhile, Keepers Zambia Foundation director, Ezra Banda said that women need to be empowered with land because they were key contributors to social and economic development of communities.
He said that in view of the challenge of climate change women were better placed to pursue climate agriculture practices for the good of families.
He said that this could only be achieved if the owned land and advised traditional leaders need to rethink their cultural orientation for the sake of development