‘Women unaware of constitutional provisions’

ZIMBABWEAN women continue to have their rights suppressed despite being the biggest beneficiaries of the new Constitution, a female parliamentarian has said.

Christopher Mahove

Harare West MP Jessie Majome (MDC-T) said although the new Constitution had several guarantees that protect women’s rights, few were aware of what was contained in the charter.

Majome was speaking at a workshop organised by Women’s Trust to discuss women’s experiences on the 2013 elections and map a strategy for women for the 2018 votes.

“Women are the biggest beneficiaries of the constitutional reform programme, but I don’t know why they are not celebrating. My fear is that they have not read and they don’t know what they are missing,” she said.

“Women are just carrying on with their lives and the reality on the ground is totally opposite from what is in the Constitution.

“They have all these guarantees, but nothing has changed.”

Majome said the new Constitution was the first in the world which had a women only section singled out by name. She was referring to Article 6 of the Preamble, which gave women equal citizenry and dignity.

“The equality clause was not there in the old Constitution, but is now enshrined and is papered throughout the document,” Majome said.

“The new Constitution also has an effective anti-discrimination clause, which is far different from the monster of a clause that gave a license for discrimination.

She said there was need for women parliamentarians to push for the passing of enabling legislation that would see the provisions of the new Constitution translated into reality for the multitudes of women.

“The longer we take to do it, the more our rights are in danger as women.
“We need to translate these into statutory law and also tell the women what treasure they have in this new Constitution,”

Majome said there was a danger that if the current crop of legislators failed to act to align laws with the provisions of the constitution, a whole new generation of women would be affected.

Another MP, Monica Mutsvangwa, said it was critical to note that the guarantees were not good enough being just on paper as they needed to be implemented.

“These also need to be enforced and we should take it upon ourselves as women to enforce them so that we claim our rights and freedoms,” she said.
She said women had earned the right to equality and freedom by fighting alongside their male counterparts during the war of liberation.

Under the new Constitution, women were supposed to occupy half of the top positions in public institutions, including boards of parastatals.

In the last elections, 60 women were elected to the National Assembly in accordance with the new Constitution through proportional representation.

However, there were only three women out of 26 Cabinet ministers, three out of 13 Ministers of State and five out of 24 deputy ministers.

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  1. they know about it, only that they are comfortable where they are so why bother pushing them.

  2. One should not get a position because she is women but should be promoted because she is the best person to take that post

  3. Majome, who is your husband? You don’t seem to understand the importance of family values which is what you are supposed to preach and protect. Vanodzvanyirirwa nani? If you have a case please settle it with the Creator. Women will never be men and the reverse is true. These grouping of single mothers are failures in life (in terms of the marriage pacts as crafted by God) and they are bitter about men. Makateerera zvema equal rights zvisina nebasa rese mukaputsa dzimba dzenyu mazvitevedzera saka chiregai kufurira vamwe vari happily married. Majome the Creator will blind them to your calls to see your stupid rights in your constitution!!!!. If you are devorcee tanga patswa and learn from your mistakes to enjoy the marrige pact as created by God.

    1. Vonai, where exactly in this article did Majome say women will be men? She did not decide to insert this section by herself. It was agreed to by all the parties in parliament and put to the vote and needs to be aligned with the country’s laws. Where does the issue of her marital status come in? 88% of the members of the last parliament who presided over the constitution making process were men. They agreed to it. It therefore makes no sense to seek to demonise Majome for doing what she was voted into parliament to do.

  4. Its unfortunate that Majome seems not to know what she is talking about. You see those who pushed this piece of rights in the constitution didn’t know that they were creating a problem. Actually by segregating and isolating ‘women’s rights’ in a section of its own was a fatal error because it would appear as if women’s rights are separate from other human rights. Women, just like any other species deserve to be treated like any other human being so that the phrase ‘equal rights’ can truly be entrenched. In other words the so called women’s rights are human rights so why try to separate them as if they are not the same. So Majome’s arguments are actually misplaced and it looks like she is a bitter person who should solve her own problems and not use others as fronts.

  5. ele, you sound as if you believe Majome single-handedly inserted the the section in question. It was agreed to by all parties represented in parliament whose composition was, by the year, just 12% female. What Majome is saying that the laws of this country have to be aligned to the constitution hence parliament needs to enact the required legislation. In what way are her arguments misplaced? We were told that 95% of those who voted in the constitutional referendum voted in favour of it, ele.

  6. Ruramai it is called people’s rights. Some of us we see people as people and not based on sexuality. What is women’s rights and freedoms nhai shamwari. Kuda tava mu taliban state but you create problems in marriges nazvo izvozvo. Better call them marriage rights and family values!!!

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