BY STAFF WRITER
LUPANE West MP Martin Khumalo (Zanu PF) has urged women, who comprise 52% of the population in the country, to take advantage of their numbers to win seats in Parliament and local authorities.
Khumalo said this during debate in the National Assembly on the delegation to the 75th Session of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women held in Geneva recently and attended by local MPs.
He said the recently held Zanu PF district co-ordination committee (DCC) elections and the MDC-T extraordinary congress held yesterday had exposed that while women constitute a majority in the country, they were failing to take advantage of their numbers to win elections.
“As women, you are losing it there (in failing to use your numbers to win elections). You can cry and come to Parliament under proportional representation (PR), but if you do not do it at primary elections to use your advantage in terms of the 52% population of females, then you will keep crying that there are few women in Parliament,” Khumalo said.
“I am wondering why women do not support each other. If you do not support each other you risk losing out because you have the advantage that those men who vote, some of them are your husbands. So, why are you losing?”
Khumalo said the PR quota that brought 60 women to Parliament uncontested was meant to endow women with skills for the meantime but in the future women must be able to contest with men.
“Those women who came here in Parliament in 2013 as PR MPs have not doubled their numbers. Some of them do not even want to contest after they have completed their two terms. They want to come back for the third term through the PR system although its intention was to make sure that they go to a training school so that they are able to stand in those constituencies with men after two terms,” Khumalo said.
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He said women that came to Parliament through the PR system should not overstay so that they give an example to young women.
“You come here and cry foul that men are undermining you, but here is an opportunity. You can defeat us and have a Parliament with women only because you have the numbers. Women must go down to basics.
“Even on appointments, how do you expect the President to appoint 50/50 ministers yet when you come here you are few? You all want to be chairpersons of portfolio committees but how many are you? But if you do it down there at primary elections then you are home and dry. Women must go back to basics and they will run this country,” Khumalo said.