THE Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe has called on the government that will be voted into power to tackle issues of gender inequality and gender-based violence.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
Speaking during the launch of the ActionAid social justice manifesto, WCoZ chairperson Ronika Mumbire said it was a sad development for Zimbabwe that female representation in politics was likely to decrease from 33% to 15%.
The ActionAid manifesto emphasises on women empowerment as one of the forms of poverty reduction, and also emphasises on the need to respect women’s sexual autonomy and bodily integrity as well as safe, reliable and accessible public services which include public transport, lighting and referral services for sexual and reproductive health to allow them to enjoy a violence free life.
“Our Constitution is clear about gender equality, and politicians speak about it in public forums but they do not implement it,” Mumbire said.
Women’s rights activist Betty Sithole said while there were policies to protect women against gender based violence, there was need for training of the police force so that they are able to treat GBV cases seriously.
“Most GBV cases are treated trivially. There is need for the police to be trained because right now training is only for the Victim Friendly Unit. The Victim Friendly Unit also works during weekdays, and during weekends they are closed,” Sithole said.
She said there was also need to have stiffer penalties for GBV violators and to have a gender sensitive media because reports at times blame the victim.
ActionAid regional director Nalucha Nganga Ziba from Zambia said it was key for governments to finance and support programmes that prevent GBV.
“In Zambia there are adequate policies on GBV, but what is lacking is financing of those programmes because they are not well funded. There is need for governments to demonstrate commitment through providing resources for GBV,” Ziba said.
ActionAid Zimbabwe director Joy Mabenge said the citizenry was calling on the incoming government to ensure that women had enhanced access, control and ownership over productive land and other natural resources for sustainable development.