Women orgs call for quota system extension

By Vumani Mthiyane

Women organisations have called for the extension of the women`s quota system saying it has so far failed to meet expectations.

Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) in collaboration with Women Development Association of Zimbabwe (WODAZ) met with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development and the Legal Resource Centre to discuss the shortcomings of the piece of legislation in Gwanda recently.

According to the women organisations, the quota system was misinterpreted and used to sideline women, hence they were only allocated reserved seats in parliament when it is supposed to be 50/50 representation.

Section 124 (b) of the constitution, the quota system will last for a 10 year period.

Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprise Development administration officer Bridget Moyo said statistics show that women were poorly represented in politics since 1980 and it only improved in 2013 after the implementation of the quota system.

“In 1980 there were 150 seats in parliament of which 21 were occupied by women, 1995 had 150 seats, 22 were occupied by women and 2000 had 150 seats again only 14 were occupied by women. In 2005 there were 120 seats and women only managed to get 20 seats.

“In 2010 they occupied 30 out of 210 and there was an increase in 2013 where they occupied 83 out of 210 seats,” said  Moyo.

Legal Resources Foundation Paralegal Alaska Mafuka said there is a need to include more women who represent marginalized groups.

“Women living with disabilities need to be represented as well hence they have to be included since the Disabled Act is not covering much. Only brave enough women can represent women yet there are few of them,” he said.

WODAZ felt the quota system should not have a life span so that more women get the opportunity to occupy leadership positions.

“The quota system should not have a life span since 10 years is not enough as we can see that women are not fully represented? It also a need to be amended such that women are chosen out of their political parties since we have observed that party ideologies confine women hence they end up with fewer powers.

“All categories of women should be included in this, which are youths, academia, elderly and disabled women. When we choose women within political parties we are prone to have poor representation since there will be hatred following political lines,” said WODAZ director Juliet Nkiwane.

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