DESPITE calls for gender balance and non-discrimination, Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa continues to sideline women when it comes to key ministerial appointments.
This has prompted the Women Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) and the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) to approach the High Court for a declaratory order to be granted stating that Mnangagwa has violated Sections 17 (1) (b) (ii), 90 (1) and 104 (4) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
We highlight the court application by WALPE and ZWLA below;
“In terms of Section 17 (1) (b) (ii) of the Constitution the First Respondent (Mnangagwa) is among other things required to ensure that women constitute at least half the membership of all elective and appointed governmental bodies established by or under the Constitution and any other Act of Parliament.
In terms of Section 90 (1) the First Respondent is also required to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the nation and must ensure that the Constitution and all the other laws are faithfully observed.
The First Respondent is further required in terms of Section 104 (4) of the Constitution to be guided by considerations of regional and gender balance in appointing Ministers and their deputies”
“Since November 2019, the First Respondent has either reshuffled his Cabinet or appointed Ministers on at least four occasions. Following those appointments and re-assignments, the First Respondent’s Cabinet was then composed as follows;
– The First Respondent appointed five women Ministers and eighteen men in his cabinet. In percentage terms, women constitute 21% of the said current cabinet
– That the First Respondent appointed five women Deputy Ministers and thirteen men. In percentage terms, women deputy Ministers constituted 28% of the total number of Deputy Ministers
– That the First Respondent appointed five women as Provincial Affairs Ministers out of ten. Though I note that the number five women seem to be the First Respondent’s favourite for each category, I note that for Provincial Ministers, the number reflects a fifty-fifty situation which is exactly what the constitution requires”
In the application WALPE and ZWLA noted that replacements which were made by Mnangagwa for the Ministers of Health, Lands and Energy and Power Development did not change the gender composition of Cabinet as the new appointees were a case of ‘a male replacing a male’.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition stands in solidarity with WALPE and ZWLA and we implore President Mnangagwa to uphold constitutional provisions on gender balance and non discrimination.