Another Constitutional Amendment: Cabinet Passes Mnangagwa’s Promise To Give Women Councillors A Quota In Local Authorities
15 December 2020
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Paul Nyathi

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Cabinet has speedily approved a promise made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week to accord women a quota in local government administration as is done at the National Assembly.

Mnangagwa, agreed to “panel beat” democracy, that systems be put in place to ensure at least 30 percent of all local government councillors are women.

The women councillors made their case during the inaugural Zimbabwe Local Government Association of Zimbabwe (Zilga) women councillors’ indaba, which was held under the banner of “Women in Local Government Forum” (WILGF) in Victoria Falls last week and with President Mnangagwa officiating.

Cabinet on Tuesday considered and approved Principles for the Amendment of the Constitution on Proportional Representation in Local Authorities, which was presented by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works.

In particular, the systems of proportional representation for the election of candidates to Parliamentary seats will be extended to local authorities.

The principles will facilitate increased women and minority parties representation in lower tiers of governance thereby bringing stability and balance in decision-making as power-sharing becomes more visible at the grassroots level.

Another key highlight is that Cabinet approved the principle to provide for a 30% quota for women in all local authorities.

Speaking to Mnangagwa, women councillors said their participation at all levels of decision making is critical for the development of the country as local government plays a fundamental role in the day-to-day lives of women, the elderly, youth and men by virtue of being closest to the general populace.

President Mnangagwa said local government is the bedrock of national governance as has accepted the WILGF argument.

He said it was necessary to consider extending the women’s quota to councils, urging women councillors to equally develop and implement concrete strategies to realise their objectives.

“You are advocating for an improvement in your representation at local government level. We fought for democracy and there was a lot of sacrifice by the girl child and boy child for us to achieve that democracy. Currently councillors are elected on the basis of that democracy,” he said.

“You are now asking me to panel-beat democracy in order to meet our needs rather than our needs to be met through plain democracy. Fortunately, I am in agreement with you, and that is granted, and I will ask the Minister of Local Government to begin the process,” said the President to a thunderous applause from the councillors.