Maxwell Sibanda 8 December 2016
HARARE – It is time for action to end gender-based violence and men should
not be inevitable to speak out against the violence, Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee chairperson on gender and Goromonzi MP Biata
Nyamupinga has said.
Gender based violence is rife-and it is getting worse-according to the
Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey the prevalence of gender-based violence
stood at 47 percent among women.
Speaking during the Election Resource Centre (ERC) sponsored radio show to
commemorate 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based violence Nyamupinga
said men’s involvement is key.
The ERC seeks to increase citizens, particularly women and youth
engagement and influence.
“For a long time we have been talking to the converted, we have been
talking to ourselves because we have always been the victims, so we have
always been talking to ourselves but now I’m very happy that we are
“Actually a lot of men, even in Parliament, are running with it (Activism
against gender based violence),” Nyamupinga said.
Nyamupinga was responding to a Whatsapp question by a listener who wanted
to know if men are being involved in the fight against gender based
Feminist and human rights activist, Sally Dura the National Co-ordinator
said men are important in the equation.
“Men involvement has become key. Male MPs signed a pledge to commit that
they will do something about ending child marriages in their
constituencies,” Dura said.
Dura said despite milestone achievements on paper women in Zimbabwe are
still suffering from the violence.
“While we have progressive constitution on woman and gender equality and
while Zimbabwe is a signatory to the SADC Gender Protocol on Gender and
Development and many regional and International commitments that the
government of Zimbabwe has put in place including the establishment of the
national gender implementation machinery which is the Gender Commission
and the Ministry of Women Affairs which is decentralized, we continue to
realize that women cannot assert or enjoy their right because of violence
against them,” Dura said.
Dura said Women Coalition of Zimbabwe celebrate the great work that women
across all political divides in all parts of the country worked together
through the G20 Initiative which brought together women in Parliament,
civic society, academic sector and private sector and collectively managed
to deliver women’s rights responsive constitution to the people of
The 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence is a global campaign
dedicated to ending gender-based violence. It seeks to raise awareness at
the local, national and international levels regarding violence against
She also added that the current flawed electoral system in the country has
made it difficult for women to participate in elections as candidates.
Nyamupinga said there is need to create a conducive environment for women.
“Our mode of election is not conducive for women, for example elections
are associated with a lot of violence, and also economical violence
because if you don’t have money you can’t win anything.”
She added: “Going forward I would propose for electoral system amendment
and include the zebra system for equal and proportional
representation…there is need to have one that is conducive for women to
The outspoken MP, who is also the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee
Chairperson on Gender, said the plight of women is exacerbated by their
economic status making it easy for men to use their financial muscle to
elbow out women during elections.
“We have commercialised elections in this country that’s why you find that
women in the relevant constituencies they don’t support other women not
that they don’t like other women but because they are given money. Men
because they are financially resourced they will get all the seats,” she
Nyamupinga, however, said there is need for women organisations to do
resource mobilisation so that we support women candidates.
Dura who has inspired a lot of young women in Zimbabwe and currently the
national coordinator for the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe said women
participation in general is low.
“The participation of women is very disappointing in terms of statistics
it is at low level were women are continuously mobilized in voting for men
in most cases,” Dura said adding that, “we also have a violent political
culture, there is also the noncompliance to the constitution by political
parties by the manner in which they do appointments and candidate
selection criteria in terms of gender balance.”
The ERC has since petitioned Parliament calling for the alignment of the
Electoral Act and the constitution a processes which will lead to the
holding of free, fair and credible elections.
Through its various such as the Communities in Action the ERC is
encouraging the participation of citizens particularly women and youth.