By Paul Nyathi
Zimbabwean women have sent an ultimatum demanding urgent equalization with their male counterparts in the political adminstration of the country.
Hundreds of women drawn from across the country met in Harare on Tuesday where they demanded that government enforces the provisions of the Constitution and give 50 – 50 opportunities to women against males.
Convened by the Zimbabwe Women Parliamentary Caucus, the women launchec a manifesto which they demanded that government adopts as a matter of urgency.
Part of the demands by the women was a call to amend the constitution to extend the term of the women’s quota representation in the National Assembly.
The women further called on political parties to stick to the constitutional provision to present half their party leadership to women.
Officially adopting the manifesto, speaker of parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda urged all political parties to align their constitutions with the constitution of the country to enable the realisation of the 50/50 gender representation in parliament or risk litigation.
The achievement of 50/50 gender equality across all sectors in line with the constitutional provisions on equality remains an illusion as most political parties have not adopted this in their constitutions.
Advocate Mudenda implored the women to challenge the status quo and fight hard for their constitutionally enshrined rights to equality.
“You must take up the matter with your political parties ahead of the election. The constitution is very clear that women should have equal representation in the socio – economic and political sphere in society,” he said.
Women parliamentarians from across the political divide converged and came up with a manifesto for the 2018 – 2023 period which sets the guidelines for them to be voted into political office.
ZWPC Chairperson, Cde Monica Mutsvagwa implored women to use the manifesto as their campaign guide.
“Let’s use this manifesto as our campaign guide and ensure that we get our space,” she said.
The women’s manifesto is a 30-paged document spearheaded by women parliamentarians from Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC.
It lays out the basis for voting women into power, access to justice and equal benefit of the law and women and economic development, among other issues.
The women also came up with an elections charter for the 2018 harmonised polls.