The Zimbabwe Gender Commission has made several recommendations to ensure constitutionalism in relation to gender equality and non-discrimination and to increase the participation of women in politics and decision making.
The recommendations were presented in Parliament yesterday by Minister of Women Affairs Sithembiso Nyoni.
Here they are:
1.1 Strengthen gender equality law through enactment of a Gender Equality Act
A legally enforceable instrument which provides an implementation framework for constitutional provisions on gender equality and also clearly setting out national indicators. In the event of rights infringement, the Act would secure appropriate redress for victims of sex and gender based discrimination. The Commission therefore recommends the enactment of the Gender Equality Act, which is all-encompassing to enforce adherence and implementation of gender equality principles.
1.2 Ensuring special measures to increase women’s representation at Provincial and Local Governmen and appointed positions.
Local Government is the entry level mainstream politics and appointed leadership roles. Special measures should be adopted in line with Section 3 of the Constitution in terms of ensuring diverse representation.
1.3 Ensure Electoral Act ensures equal representation by women and men.
The ongoing amendment should be aligned to Section 56(2) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, among other provisions. Further, political parties should be regulated through enacting a law that will enable ZEC to hold political parties accountable for non-compliance with constitutional provisions on gender equality. The Act should obligate political parties to submit party lists which uphold constitutional obligations.
1.4 Amendment of Political Parties Finance Act
The Political Parties Finance Act should be amended such that it provides a clear framework that encourages participation of women and financially supports female candidates which is in the spirit of the Constitution, as affirmed in Section 67(2), which provides for very Zimbabwean’s right to participate in the activities of a political party or organisation of their choice. The provisions of the Act can be used to sanction political parties that fail to comply with gender equality provisions through levelling penalties against such political parties.
1.5 Adoption of Proportional Representation Electoral System
In the long term, the country should consider adopting Proportional Representation Electoral System. Zimbabwe has adopted the PR electroral system in the Senate only which has 48% women’s representation out of the 80 senators. This should therefore be extended to include all areas as women’s representation in politics would increase significantly.
Continued next page