MEN must brace for stiff competition from female candidates during the 2018 elections after the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentarians Caucus and different civic organisations yesterday launched a 50/50 gender parity advocacy campaign and women’s manifesto for 2018 to 2023.
by VENERANDA LANGA
Speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, who was guest of honour at the launch attended by hundreds of women, said it was possible for Zimbabwe to have a female President in 2018 if women rise to the occasion.
“Constitutions of political parties do not support gender parity and that must be changed,” he said.
“No constitution is cast in stone and it can be amended to ensure that the proportional representation extends beyond 2023 for another 10 years, or the amendment left open.”
The manifesto calls for the advancement of gender equality and ensuring that women are equally represented in all sectors of the economy, in politics, business, local authorities and even boards.
Mudenda said 35% of legislators were female, thanks to the proportional representation quota, which brought in 60 women in the National Assembly and the zebra system, which brought in more women in Senate.
Mudenda challenged women to put into action their 50/50 women’s manifesto, saying that was remained a philosophical matrix, which needed to be put into action with timelines set.
Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus, Monica Mutsvangwa, said women constituted 52% of the population and, therefore, must participate as voters and as candidates to increase their representation in Parliament and other sectors.
“The manifesto is going to be a tool showing why the electorate must vote for women, and it will be ideal to continue to monitor and evaluate it to see where women have been failing,” she said.
Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women and Youth, Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga said women must now adopt the “pull her up syndrome”, and demystify perceptions that women pull each other down.
Hivos regional director Tanja Lubbers said gender equality was a prerequisite for development and advancement of society. Lubbers said the women’s’ manifesto envisions that women have equal opportunities and capacity to participate in politics and other sectors.
Gender specialist, Isabella Matambanadzo threatened to take Parliament and the government to the Constitutional Court if the 50/50 gender parity constitutional requirement is not met.
Matambanadzo commended Rwanda, which has achieved 61,3% female representation in Parliament, adding Zimbabwe can do the same as it had educated women.