ZIMBABWE should move towards establishing a law that regulates the conduct of sex workers, and guards against the participation of young girls in the world’s oldest profession.
BY TAFADZWA MUTACHA
Responding to questions from women at a round table discussion titled Women’s conversation on legislation with HE Mnangagwa in Harare yesterday, Mnangagwa said there was need for a better formula to increase women representation in governance.
“We cannot allow this to happen young girls are being involved in sex work. Am not saying that I approve older people, I am saying that it is worse when young girls are involved, we need possible legislation relating to this area of human participation.
“It is unlawful. I don’t know whether these things are happening and the police do not know about these things,” Mnangagwa told over 40 women organisation leaders at the event.
He said the government needed to have dialogue with tertiary students to understand the scourge of abuse in institutions of higher learning.
“With regards to sexual harassment in institutions of higher learning, again, this gives bad repute (sic) to our institutions. You suggest that we, perhaps, should include in the charter of these universities regulations for the prohibition of sexual harassment.
“I have taken note and see how we can deal with this. I believe it is necessary for the ministry of Justice permanent secretary (Virginia) Mabhiza is here, to have a conversation with girls in higher institutions so that we understand how it is perpetuated in order to adequately deal with it. We need to have dialogue both at management and student body level,” the President said.
In the wake of Zanu PF primary elections, in which no more than 10% of candidates were women, Mnangagwa said he had been disappointed by the democratic process that has failed women.
“It was quite disappointing because the process was open in a democratic way where the winner is elected. The result is what we have that only 10% women won,” he said.
“As a political party, we have discussed that we need a formula that will guarantee reasonable representation of women. The current democratic process cannot yield the desired results.
“If you look at the number of political parties, when I said I wanted to meet political party leaders at the time I was looking at between six to 11, but now we have 125 political parties and of these, only three have women presidents. So again you can see women are very shy to form political parties. But that should not be reason for my political party not to find a way a model that brings more women into parliament.”
He said political parties had realised the difficulties women face in the cut throat political playfield and created a women’s quota of 60 seats that are not contested by men.
As regards concerns of an exclusionary government sponsored loan facility in higher education, Mnangagwa promised to look into the issue to create better conditions for poor learners to access educational funding.
“I did not know the details you are telling me. I was also in the former administration, I also carry the burden of guilt in that respect.
“We thought we were assisting the students by allowing them to access loans, but I was not aware they had such stringent conditions, which are excluding a lot of students.
I take not of your concerns so I will talk to minister (Higher and Tertiary Education Amon) Murwira so we can remove those conditions,” he said to applause.