Conrad Mupesa Mash West Bureau
MAKONDE Rural District Council (MRDC) has launched the gender policy framework aimed at addressing gender-related imbalances, violence and promotes equal accessibility in all spheres of life.
The important document which dovetails well with Vision 2030, National Development Strategy 1 (NDS-1), Zimbabwe National Gender Policy and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) protocol on Gender and Development, was launched by the Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga in the district.
Deputy Minister Mhlanga applauded the council for introducing an all-encompassing policy document that is going to put women in the district at par with their male counterparts adding it would help in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV).
“What you have actually done is you have spoken about the monetary resource benefit of this policy but, I want us to look at the intangible benefits of creating a harmonious Makonde society.
“We are getting into the season of awareness of GBV. We are getting into the season of concertizing our men and women folk in terms of GBV. The launch will assist to bring gender based violence down.”
She added that the efforts by MRDC was a sign that the central government’s efforts to develop Zimbabwe were being augmented at the provincial and local governments level and said it was important to mainstreaming activities.
“This powerful policy means that the district council is in the right direction in terms of development,” she added.
Makonde council chairman, Alderman Simbarashe Ziyambi, said the introduction of the gender policy was in line with the local authority’s agenda of adopting Section 17 of the Constitution which calls for gender balance in participating in decision making at local level.
Alderman Ziyambi, who called on women to participate in the budget process so that implementation of projects is gender sensitive, also rallied women to embrace the Quota System in councils aimed at increasing the voice of women in decision making and influential positions.
“We also recognised the provision of the national gender policy of 2014, which despises discrimination on the basis of gender. As council, we resolved that no meaningful development can be achieved in Makonde if women are not participating meaningfully in decision making at all spheres of the local governance system.
“I can assure you that as MRDC, we are committed to ensure that women and girls participate fully in economic and social programmes of Council without any fear or discrimination,” said Ziyambi.
The council social services officer, Mrs Geytta Bunya said the policy would address cases of growing gender-based violence and early child marriages taking place in the district.
Makonde RDC will develop gender sensitive recruitment policies which encourage both women and men to seek employment in Council with a view to achieve gender equity among staff.
The launch, which was attended by members from the police force and education sector, saw the resurfacing of Senator Prisca Mupfumira who is from the district.