By A Correspondent- The Women’s Reform Network Representative yesterday handed over their petition to the Parliament of Zimbabwe and Ministry of local government over the women’s representation in local government.
The organization is imploring the government to reverse its decision to add 587 seats to cater for women Qouta in addition to the already existing 1958 seats for local government.
In their petition they argued that the increase in seats will add unnecessary burden to the tax payers hence they want a 50/50 representation based on the already existing seats.
‘Now thereforethe petitioners beseech the Parliament of Zimbabwe to implore the Executive to uphold the Supreme Law of the land by ensuring that Zimbabwe’s legal framework is reviewed in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution as it relates to 50/50 gender equality in elected and appointed positions.
The Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo, recently proclaimed at a Women in Local Authorities symposium that the Government of Zimbabwe shall be passing a law to create a 30% women’s proportional representation quota in all local authorities outside of the already existing 1958 wards.
This proposed amendment will see additional women only 587 seats across all the country’s local authorities added on top of the current 1958 seats. As the Women’s Reform Network, we appreciate the need for interventions to increase women’s representation in elected and appointed leadership at all levels.
However, we believe that any intervention must firstly be informed by the Constitutional provisions of Sections 17, 56 and 80 which expressly envisages and demand a legal framework which implements 50/50 gender equality at all levels in Zimbabwe. In addition, it is our considered view that any quotas must be allocated within the existing number of seats. Women empowerment in leadership must never create a burden on the taxpayers whose net effect would affect the adequacy and accessibility of quality gender responsive service delivery which would in turn adversely impact the very same women who must be empowered’ read part of the petition .
The women also implored that the Parliament should make a comprehensive legal framework in order to attain the 50/50 gender equality as enshrined in the 2013 constitution of Zimbabwe.
‘Parliament must insist on a comprehensive review of the legal framework as it relates to attaining 50/50 gender equality in elected and appointed representation. This is important because the Constitution demands it, in Sections 17, 56 and 80, and the Hon. Minister of Local Government and Public Works must adhere to the Constitution and Parliament must exercise oversight over his proclamations so that they do not violate the Constitution which he swore to uphold.
If the Government insist on implementing the proposal of 30% women’s proportional representation quota in local authorities, the 587 seats should be within the already existing 1958. The WRN stands ready to assist the Government with models for implementing the quota within’ added the statement.
The Women’s Reform Network (WRN) Women’s Reform Network Representative coalition of 25 women’s rights organisations and women-led Community Based Organisations with an interest in the integrity of electoral processes.