Zimbabwean Women Protest Low Number of Cabinet Slots

via Zimbabwean Women Protest Low Number of Cabinet Slots by Sebastian Mhofu for VOA Zimbabwe

Women’s groups in Zimbabwe have responded angrily to President Robert Mugabe’s decision to appoint just four women to his 30-seat Cabinet.

Defending his decision, Mugabe told journalists that women must do better in elections to be eligible for Cabinet posts.  Women say the road to gender equity in Zimbabwean politics is a long one, given their disadvantaged background.

Only 12 percent of Zimbabwe’s new Cabinet is female, well below women’s 52 percent share of the population recorded last year in Zimbabwe’s census.

After swearing in his new ministers on Tuesday, President Robert Mugabe said there is nothing abnormal about having few women in his Cabinet.

“Education is for all now.  It is mixed.  The yield is the same.  It is no longer necessary for us to have affirmative action, it is now free for all.  Let women contest alongside men without any preferential treatment,” said Mugabe.

Zimbabwe’s new constitution, approved earlier this year, provides legal protections for women, including equal rights in the workplace and a 50-50 representation in all public offices, which would appear to include the Cabinet.

In addition, the Southern African Development Community has mandated that its members give women 50 percent political representation by 2015.

After this week’s Cabinet announcements, the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe convened to strategize on increasing women’s participation in the political, legal and economic sectors.

The group’s chairwoman, Virginia Muwanigwa, said her members are not happy with Mugabe’s appointments.

“We are disappointed that we have not been able to achieve the number of women in Cabinet according to what we expected in the constitution, which is actually 50-50 or 50 percent,” she said. “And we are particularly disappointed because it is not just about the Cabinet, but what the Cabinet represents in the lives of people of Zimbabwe.”

An official with the Women in Politics Support Unit, Patricia Muwandi, says not all hope is lost.  She explains why women in Zimbabwe lag behind in politics.

“The historical imbalances that have seen most women not getting enough opportunities as their male counterparts in terms of accessing education and the gender roles the women expect to play,” she said. “So this where we are saying; as an organization we want to work with the women to ensure that those with some qualifications can go further.”

The women, who come from the business world, academia, the church, and civil society, say they hope the Zimbabwean government will eventually live up to the constitution and appoint equal numbers of women and men to all public offices and commissions.



  • comment-avatar
    Promise Chitsidzo 9 years ago

    Its an understatement to say this is due to historical background… in fact its due to Creation. Women are to be respected for their role in the circle of life… ensuring the generational continuity of humanity & playing a supportive role to the Head of the family. It is not coincidence that there is reference to Adam being created followed by Eve. It is not coincidence that Noah, Abraham, Moses etc, are the one’s who played prominent roles in humanity’s journey with God. There is a Sodom & Gomorrah tendency to corrupt God’s dictates which also talks of tolerance to homosexuality & other similar satanic acts of defiance to God’s dictates. Idolizing women & pushing them beyond their roles as prescribed under God’s scheme of things is a case in point. Having a woman leading men is a defiance of God’s dictates & we need to realign ourselves with the Creator Himself, otherwise we will continue having a myriad of unexplained problems like famine, wars & diseases. The truth is God has ultimate control over our destiny… which is why for instance people might vote in a country like Zim & the results cannot really be understood even by the winners!

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    Tjingababili 9 years ago


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    Zeezee 9 years ago

    Too scared to have more women in government as most women don’t take nonsense!

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    Sibangilizwe Lethube 9 years ago

    Tjingababili what kind of a man who does not like the women. Women are lovely human beings who were created by the MIGHTY GOD who are equally important like men before God.Tjingababili must be gay. Anyway very soon we will allow you to marry bob, because both of you don’t have respect for the women.

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    hey you women, you will continuously worsen thigs in the eyes of God, pliz go back to the drawing board (bible) and take it from there otherwise as helpers you can pave a way for a bette zimbabwe, musadzingana nemhepo

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    2018 female president 8 years ago

    the note is quite interesting and motivating as a humanity scientist l do not blame people who could not understand or grasp your concert because women are just the same as men and at times even better that is the reason why we are backward because we do not want to adapt to changes ..solutions and better our nation as a team rather than being so immature ana penga nana tji newe promise