via ZGC must explain gender issues says Majome – The Zimbabwean 30 July 2015
The newly-established Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) must embark on intensive awareness campaigns to educate people on women’s rights and the need for gender equality, says Jessie Majome.
The former deputy minister of women’s affairs and gender during the 2009-13 Government of National Unity, said it was vital for citizens to understand gender as a way of creating acceptance of gender equality.
“It all starts with awareness, so the gender commission must do a lot of promotion work to create a sustainable understanding of gender issues. The awareness campaigns must be as far reaching as possible and should target both men and women,” said Majome, who has been using her position as a parliamentarian to fight for the rights of women and has been active in fighting against gender-based violence.
She said the new commission must ensure it was independent from external forces as a way of ensuring meaningful inclusion of women in all political, economic and social aspects. “The commission cannot sustain itself if it is not truly independent,” she added.
Members of the opposition and civil society are crying foul that ZGC comprises only commissioners with links to Zanu (PF). They have accused President Robert Mugabe of removing candidates who performed well during the selection of commissioners by Parliament and replacing them with party loyalists. The majority of the commissioners have no direct background in gender activism, a fact many said would compromise their commitment to gender equality.
Majome said there was need to implement and align laws with the constitution adopted in 2013 to ensure that gender equality became a reality. “The gender commission must throw its weight solidly behind aligning legislation with the constitution so that there is sufficient gender equity. The provision on gender equality was one of the biggest gains achieved under the constitution,” she said.
The commission’s mandate includes monitoring issues concerning gender equality, identifying the violation of related rights, receiving and considering complaints from Zimbabweans and recommending appropriate redress.
It is also tasked with adopting interventions to ensure the removal of all forms of discrimination against women and adherence to international protocols and conventions on gender.
Biata Nyamupinga, who heads the parliamentary portfolio committee on women’s affairs, said the ZGC must give equal attention to all matters that addressed the marginalisation of women and children in political, economic and social spheres.
“There is no particular area in which the commission must give special attention as all issues relating to gender equality must be tackled with the same seriousness. These issues range from domestic violence, gender-sensitive budgets, inclusion of women at an equal footing in political, economic and social decision-making, as well as in livelihoods activities, business and education,” said Nyamupinga.
ZGC is one of the five commissions provided for under the constitution, with the four other being the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), Anti-Corruption Commission of Zimbabwe (ACCZ), Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC).