The Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development, Jessie Majome, has called for government to amend the Political Parties Finance Act to award parties that promote gender parity.
In an interview, Majome said she was confident by 2015 Zimbabwe would have moved significantly towards attaining the 50/50 representation of both men and women in top political positions.
“There are many ways of killing a cat. The 50/50 representation threshold can be achieved and one of the ways can be by giving incentives to political parties, for example, through amendments of the Political Parties Finance Act to ensure those parties that come up with a significant number of elected women are given additional finances,” Majome said.
“What remains difficult to do as a nation is to set up mechanics and formulas of how to do that because it is a revolutionary concept and there might be issues of reorganising the political terrain. It is an issue of democracy and we cannot continue to have 52% of the population represented by 18% of legislators.
“If women called for 50/50 representation in the new constitution, it means it must be adhered to because it would be unconstitutional not to do that.”
Zanu PF secretary for women’s affairs Oppah Muchinguri said the problem with the Zimbabwe Constitution was it did not have provisions to ensure that any protocol ratified should be made into law, thus disadvantaging women.
“The gender protocol was ratified and it went through Parliament, but it was not implemented because there is no provision in our Constitution to say that ratifications should be made into law,” said Muchinguri.
“That is why we are fighting for that provision so that whatever is signed by our heads must be domesticated and made binding as a law.”
Muchinguri said what was pleasing was that women in Zimbabwe, regardless of their political affiliation, shared the same views that they should fight for the 50/50 gender parity.
The Sadc region has an average of 25% women in national parliaments while Zimbabwe has 18% women in the august House.