The parliamentary recall of members of opposition political parties has affected the female quota system and reduced the gains made to promote female participation in governance.
This came out during the Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) celebrations of the International Women’s Day under the theme ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.
Presenting on policy gaps in addressing gendered corruption in Zimbabwe and the efforts being taken by the government to address gaps, Member of Parliament for Bulawayo Metropolitan, Jasmine Toffa said women are the ones suffering due to recalls.
“The proportional representation women are subjected to recalls, so that gain that we achieved in the 2018 election, the figure has come down, so we see that as an area that needs to be worked on,” said Toffa.
“I am sure you are aware that this was done by the opposition party when there was a political disgruntlement or war that is going on, so who is suffering in that situation, it’s the women once again, and also as proportional representatives, the women are not accorded the same benefits as constituency members of parliament both man and women, so how do we say then this is a women empowerment.”
She said there are no policies in place to protect women.
“As women, we are not financially liquid, if the law does not protect us, if there is no policy in place to protect women that are benefitting from the PR and be named or be on equal footing as the other members of parliament then we still have an issue and that is something we are ceased with working on as government and as political parties to fight for,” said Toffa.
She added that political parties should be challenged to produce a 50-50 list of their candidates to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
“As a woman’s caucus we have set in our women manifesto, we have said that political parties should be challenged to actually produce a 50-50 list when they are issuing their candidates to ZEC and ZEC should say if a political party cannot meet that standard, then they should not be allowed to participate in that election,” said Toffa.
“It’s something that we are putting to political parties and women should also challenge the political parties when they come out to campaign for votes and ask them if they are actually walking the talk.”
Toffa added that Proportional Representation members of Parliament are being subject to abuse.
Meanwhile, Chief Public prosecutor, Rosa Takuva said there is a need for a political will to enforce some of the policies.
“It all goes down to the political will to enforce some of these policies, if we do not have that will to enforce these policies we will talk about them every day but nothing will change, I know we have a gender commission whose main thrust is to advocate for equality of the parties, men and women, boys and girls but if we do not push that commission to make sure that there is actually a law that binds all employers to say whenever you are hiring you must have a balance of your employees,” said Takuva.