Call to revamp women’s quota 

Source: Call to revamp women’s quota | The Herald April 13, 2019

Call to revamp women’s quota
Chief Charumbira

Zvamaida Murwira in NYANGA
Women organisations are pushing for term limits for female legislators coming to Parliament under the quota system to ensure that more women benefit from Government empowerment initiatives. This came amid calls for political parties to ensure that they capacitate women entering Parliament under the quota system to ensure that the objective of reserving seats for women is realised.

This emerged here during a national multi-stakeholders post-election review conference for the 2018 July 30 2018 harmonised elections organised by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

Women in Politics Support Unit representative Ms Sibusiso Sibanda said her organisation was pushing to have an extension of the constitutional provision providing for the 60 seats earmarked for women in the National Assembly, which comes to an end in 2023 after the consummation of the two-term cap.

“We do not want the constitutional provision to be retained in the form in which it is at the moment, as we seek its extension,” she said. “We want it improved so that it is better than what it is. We also want term limits for the female MPs so that the same people do no continue benefiting.”

Ms Sibanda suggested various constitutional amendments in respect of the women’s quota, one of which included a 50:50 parity for men and women in Parliament.

She called for a mechanism to ensure that political parties upheld a certain threshold of women that should be nominated to Parliament under the women’s quota. This, she said, would go a long way in empowering women.

“We should have a standardised process which political parties should follow,” said Ms Sibanda.

During the meeting, stakeholders implored political parties to capacitate women, saying there was a tendency to deploy those with little appreciation of the role of legislators.

Stakeholders said the system was vulnerable to abuse as some political parties were making nominations of women based on considerations rtaherthan ability, thereby undermining the vibrancy of Parliament.

Council of Chiefs president Chief Fortune Charumbira said there was need to deploy beneficiaries of the women’s quota on merit.

“Some political parties are using the women’s quota as a retirement area,” he said. “They are bringing tired people. Those fighting for women’s quota should gear up. Women’s quota is a good thing, but it is sometimes used to reward that person who cannot be given anything else.”

ZEC Commissioner Mrs Joyce Kazembe said there was need to emulate examples from other countries like Tanzania where women contest among themselves.

ZEC chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba advised WIPSU to come up with a position paper outlining achievements by their colleagues as they sought to have the constitutional provision extended.

Justice Chigumba said this in the context of concerns raised on the capacity of some female legislators coming to Parliament.