Women participation in politics under spotlight

By Wellington Makonese

POLITICAL actors and non-state players have conducted an interparty dialogue on women participation in politics with calls for sincerity in domesticating the model gender policy.

This comes after a 2019 audit report on political parties reflected flaws in gender mainstreaming processes.

Women representation in politics remains low as reflected by 13.3 percent in local government and 31.5 percent in the national assembly after the 2018 general elections.

An inter-party round table meeting convened by political and non-political actors in Harare this Tuesday saw stakeholders acknowledging that more needs to be done.

“Slowly women are rising to the occasion more women occupying space, I am a secretary general, generally need encouragement, resources and hygiene around the playing field,” said Paurina Mupariwa, the MDC-T Secretary General.

“We need to lobby for a change the first past the post west minister system, we are using the PR system for Senate we also need that for council and national assembly,” said Linda Masarira, LEAD President.

“All countries that have achieved parity changed electoral systems but there is a negative side to it, a system that brings a weak government produce weak policies but there is need to balance the system, Senate doesn’t use winner take it all,” said
Paul Mangwana, ZANU PF Secretary for Legal Affairs.

The Zimbabwe Gender Commission believes continuous engagements between parties and various organisations are key towards ensuring gender parity.

“For the Zimbabwe Gender Commission this provides us idea on how parties are structured and how we can assist forging ahead of 2023 with more women participation, most of the decisions affect women than man so there is currency in women participation,” said Obert Matshalaga, Vice Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Gender Commission.

The inter-party dialogue comes after the gender audit on political parties in 2019, which focused on constitutions, practices and policies, highlighted disparities in gender responsiveness in political parties.

The objectives of the Gender Audit were to influence reform of political party constitutions and policies towards gender parity, and strengthen political parties through institutionalisation of gender equality.

The constitution of Zimbabwe through sections 17, 56 and 80 affirm equal participation, representation and participation in all sectors.

However, the voter patterns in the 2018 general elections were quite appalling as there were only four women out of 23 presidential candidates.

The four female candidates only managed to get about five percent of the votes.

This is despite the fact that women constitute 52 percent of the country’s population while they are also the majority of voters.