Women's Petition – A Zanu PF Agenda

The Parliamentary Constitutional co-chair Douglas Mwonzora told a constitutional update meeting in Harare on Friday: “As the select committee we concluded that the petition made by women last week was not genuine.”

The women, led by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, representing women’s organisations, said they were not happy that their petition demanding more women to be incorporated into the constitution making process had been dismissed. They said they would meet soon to discuss on what course of action to take.

Mwonzora said the Gender Affairs Minister Olivia Muchena was advancing her Zanu PF political party agenda. “Honourable Muchena is a member of the Parliamentary select committee and a member of the Zanu PF politburo which failed to provide us with the number of females needed in the thematic committees from her party. She is also the Minister of Gender. We asked her why she was silent over these issues since the beginning of the process. Her party gave us one woman out of the seven people needed for each thematic commitee,” said Mwonzora. “She said that was the decision of her party’s politburo and we asked her why she did not challenge her own politburo.”

“We are gender sensitive,” said Mwonzora, “but we are innocent in this case. In the MDC we managed to balance gender representation and we had no problems in that regard.”

Zanu PF is on record saying that it is opposed to the constitution making process and wanted Zimbabweans to adopt the draft constitution adopted in Kariba by the three main political parties in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that formed the new unity government. The draft known as the Kariba Draft was crafted prior to the formation of the unity government. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has said it has no problems in the draft being presented to the people for further debate and amendments.

“The problem we are having in this process is that there are some members of the inclusive government who want the coalition government to last forever because they know that they cannot stand and win fresh elections and we are aware of that,” said Mwonzora.

Zimbabwe is due to hold fresh elections once a new constitution is in place. So far the constitution process has delayed due to bickering on the selection process. Prior to that the process had been delayed due to lack of funding.