HomeBusinessFinance‘Amend Political Parties (Finance) Act to embrace gender parity’

‘Amend Political Parties (Finance) Act to embrace gender parity’

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BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

ZIMBABWE’s Political Parties (Finance) Act must be amended to ensure that parties that do not meet the constitutional 50/50 gender parity are denied State funding, an independent election watchdog has recommended.

This is contained in a Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) tracking project report on the implementation of election observer mission recommendations following the disputed 2018 elections.

The report traces progress in the implementation of the recommendations which call for the review of legislative and electoral frameworks against the country’s Constitution, regional and international principles to ensure the holding of democratic elections.

The report raises concern over little movement towards ensuring 50/50 gender parity among political parties, a situation the election watchdog argues can be corrected through withholding State funding.

Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 2 proposes the extension of quotas for women that were set to expire in 2023 by an additional 10 years, but women’s organisations and Zesn argue this is inadequate as it fails to politically empower women.

“Appropriate provisions must be made that make it mandatory for political parties to observe quotas for women. There must be gender parity, backed by law, in all decision-making positions and institutions,” the report read in part.

“Political Parties Finance Act must be amended to ensure that only political parties that meet the constitutional standards of 50/50 receive resources under the Act.”

Until the passage of the Political Parties (Finance) Act of 1992 there was no provision for the financing of political parties in Zimbabwe. The Act provides for State funding of political parties.

“Section 17 of the Constitution which speaks to the need for gender balance should be respected, thus political parties should be obligated to reserve at least 50% seats for women in the Presidium and Parliament,” the report added.

“In addition, 50% of the direct election seats should be reserved for women including young women and women with disabilities. At local government level, all direct election seats to be designated according to a zebra system by gender with ward designated for women appearing 1st on the delimitation list and ward designated for men appearing second.”

Zesn argued that the 50/50 gender parity was necessary in line with various regional and international instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women and the Sadc Protocol on Gender and Development.

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