Constitutional amendment a blow to gender equality

By Stephen Chadenga

GWERU-Women from the Midlands capital on Wednesday said the proposed constitutional amendments will not help women achieve equal gender opportunities particularly in holding political office and should therefore be rejected.

Speaking at a Women Coalition of Zimbabwe (Wicoz) public meeting on the constitutional amendment bill, women participants said the extension to four from two terms for proportional representation female legislators was not going to help in achieving gender equality in Parliament.

“What we want is a 50/50 gender representation in Parliament,”Wicoz Midlands chapter vice chairperson, Florence Guzha said.

“We would rather advocate for a statutory instrument that requires all political parties to have a zebra system to ensure that we achieve the 50/50 gender equality in Parliament.”

Guzha added:” We also don’t want the President to have sole power to appoint the vice presidents.

“At one point we thought as women we had achieved a milestone by having one of the two vice presidents (Joice Mujuru) as a female but because she had not been elected to that post she served at the mercy of President who appointed her and ended up firing her as well.”

She said power was supposed to be vested in people and not one individual who could end up abusing it.

Another participant said the amendments never addressed gender inequality but instead concentrated in removing power from people to the President.

“It’s unacceptable in a constitutional democracy,”she said.

“And in the interest of gender equality the bill only leaves women hanging.”

A Mkoba women who identified herself as Mrs Ncube said she was surprised that when the country was about to implement some of the constitutional provisions enacted in 2013 in the coming 2023 elections government was proposing amendments that defeated the thrust
of democratic polls.

During the meeting the women unanimously rejected the constitutional amendment.