Allocation of Parly seats to women welcome

HARARE - Zimbabwe's new constitution which allocates 60 “affirmative action” seats to women for the first two terms is a systematic opportunity of preparing women for leadership.

The 60 female MPs would add to the 210 parliamentary seats and the 88 Senate seats that the country currently has.

While women have been demanding that there must be a quota system provided for in the constitution to ensure their representation in decision-making with a 50 percent target for female representation as set out in the Sadc protocol, the 60 allocated seats will go a long way in introducing them to political office.

Zimbabwean women have every right to demand a fair share in national governance as census results released by the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (Zimstat) show that they constitute 6 738 877 of the country’s 12,9 million population.

While women are about half a million 503 945 more than males, whose population stands at 6 234 931, their participation in political structures remain at the periphery.  As of today, women hold 14 percent of parliamentary seats in the country, down from 16 percent in the previous Parliament.

There also has been concern at women representation in Zimbabwe’s politics as the leadership of the two major political parties in the country, Zanu PF and the MDC are male-dominated.
In Zanu PF, the party’s presidium is made up of three men and one woman, Joice Mujuru, who is also one of the party’s two vice-presidents; while the party’s Politburo comprises 26 males and seven women.

The MDC’s national standing committee, comprises nine members of which only Thokozani Khupe, who is also the deputy president of the party, is the sole female representative.

The MDC’s national executive is made up of 40 members consisting 26 males and 14 females.

But a recent campaign by women politicians from all political parties under the banner “Vote for a woman campaign” is set to boost their numbers in Parliament and Cabinet irrespective of political affiliation.

The campaign by both Zanu PF and MDC women politicians is a sure sign they want to wrestle more seats “as women”, regardless of which party wins them.

While this creates opportunities for more women to enter politics, it still falls short of the benchmarks set by women groups, led by feminist Non-Governmental Organisation, Women in Politics Support Unit (Wipsu) who have been lobbying for more female representations as set out in the Sadc protocol. - Staff Writer

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