Zanu PF wants women quota system to stay

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Chengetai Zvauya

Zanu PF has proposed to amend its constitution to keep the 10-year quota for women representation in the national assembly, so that Zimbabwe remains a leader in promoting women empowerment in the SADC region.

Zanu PF deputy chief whip Obengiwa Mguni and Goodluck Kwaramba moved a motion in Parliament recently to keep the quota system in place. Mguni said the achievements gained through the constitutional provisions on increasing women representation in Parliament may be reversed at the expiry of the 10-year constitutional cap for 60 women seats, given that the political terrain was still highly uneven to achieve gender equality.

The provision for the increase of women parliamentarians was introduced in 2013 in the new constitution. Mguni confirmed that the motion would be debated in the House soon and would likely be adopted and passed by Parliament since it was  an progressive  constitutional amendment to support women’s political advancement.

“This motion will be supported by all Zanu PF members. We have discussed it as a party and we hope that the MDC Alliance MPs will also support it in advancing women’s political empowerment in the country, ” said Mguni.

Women representation in Parliament has significantly increased from 18% in 2008 to 35% in 2018, mainly due to the progressive constitutional provisions.

Section 124 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for a quota of 60 seats for women (6 seats from each of the 10 provinces of the country) as part of efforts to enhance women representation in Parliament. The proportional representative quota system will lapse in 2023, if the constitutional amendment is not passed by Parliament.

Zimbabwe is one of more than 30 countries worldwide where a special quota system has increased women’s representation in Parliament to at least 30%. In Zimbabwe the quota reserves 60 seats for women to be selected through proportional representation, based on the votes cast for party candidates in the National Assembly.

For the 60 elected Senate seats, women and men candidates are listed alternatively, with every list headed by a woman candidate. As a result, women now comprise 124 of the 350 MPs in Parliament.