The recent Cabinet’s resolution to extend the Parliamentary Women’s Quota by 10 years was done in bad faith and must be condemned by all progressive forces in the struggle of women equality in Zimbabwe.

Indeed, why is our country now going backward from the SADC call of 50/50 gender representation in parliament? Added to that; there is the compelling need to respect our own national Constitution through its Section 17 and 56 calls for 50/50 gender representation

Alternatively; in an effort to achieve 50/50 representation, the Women Quota may stay, but on condition that we further reserve more constituencies for women representatives.

Furthermore, it is more essential that going forward, the implementation process of the 50/50 representation principle places more emphasis on promoting the rise of young women leaders.

Further, the current Women Quota only gives 60 parliamentary seats to women out of the total of 210 nationals seats. It is my strong view that this system has actually not helped the issue of promoting gender equality since all political parties no longer give aspiring women candidates the desirable constituencies.

Worse still, other Parliamentary candidates have started to label the women elected through the Parliamentary quota system as ‘Baccosi’.

This is a derogatory slang word used by some citizens when referring to things given for free.
In short, the Women Quota now seems to be disadvantaging women more.

So, as a way forward, it is time we resort to the demands of our Constitution and all fight towards 50/50 gender representation.

The government should now put in place a mechanism that will ensure that by 2023, Zimbabwe will have 50/50 parity in terms of gender representation in our Parliament.

It is common cause that a legislature full of women will help the nation in raising important motions affecting the women who are the majority in Zimbabwe

Indeed, the whole concept about 50/50 gender representation is meant to inspire women to start raising their voices, be it at work, on the streets, Government, Local Authorities or Civic Societies.

Women are suffering; women are still being discriminated; women are still being rated as second citizens. Yet we have a government that still wants to be congratulated for simply extending the Women’s Quota by 10 years.

It is my strong view that the Government of the day must now come up with a clear process that will totally enable a 50/50 gender representation in our Parliament. Indeed, it is time that we as Zimbabwe went beyond mere rhetoric and start to fully resolve the issue of equal representation for women.

The time has now come for all of us to seriously start to work together towards total 50/50 gender representation in all aspects across Zimbabwe. In this regard, the Parliament of Zimbabwe must show true leadership by leading by example.

I further call upon the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to also intensify its leadership role in terms of the initiative to achieve full gender equality in the country.

I also call upon both male and female Parliamentarians to totally reject the recent Cabinet resolution to extend the Women’s Quota by 10 years.

Last but not least, l strongly call upon our Cabinet to start working on mechanisms that will ensure that Zimbabwe totally achieves 50/50 gender representation by 2023.

Lynette Karenyi
MDC Vice-President

28 October 2019

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