Women urged to take up powerful political positions.

Women urged to take up powerful political positions.

By Letwin Mubonesi

Senate president, Honorable Mabel Chinomona said women should not be back benchers but take up powerful political posts in the country as most policies that affect them were being crafted by men.

This was said at a breakfast meeting in Harare, which was organised by the Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU) to discuss women and leadership in politics.

Statistics showed that in Zimbabwe, the number of women parliamentarians increased from 16% in 2013 to 34% in 2018 after the Constitution provided for a quota system that sets aside 60 seats for women proportional representation in Parliament.

Competition through the constituency-based system has not been friendly to women as their male counterparts have the financial muscles to support their electoral campaigns, while electoral campaigns have been violent.

Chinomona said as long as women were fewer in Parliament, policies that affected them, such as maternal health strategies and others, would be crafted by men who constitute the majority of lawmakers and it might not be what they want hence there is need to increase women participation in politics.

“No woman has the luxury of being apolitical. How can anyone be uninterested in politics when it is the politician who decides every aspect of your life and that of your children? Men decide the distance between a pregnant mother and the nearest clinic.

“The men decide whether you have access to clean water, electricity, whether your garbage will be collected and whether there will be a road leading to your house.

“The politicians’ policies decide how much you will pay for food, and how many times your children will eat and what they will eat.

“Every important aspect of your life is decided by the politicians. Is it not high time you became a politician yourself,” said the Honorable.

She added that young girls throughout the country, including the rural areas, relied on female policymakers to clearly articulate solutions to issues that affect them ranging from early child marriages, gender-based violence, access to education and health, access to sexual and reproductive health rights, and food and agricultural policies, as well as women empowerment issues to improve their livelihoods.

Information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa also supported that women should be brave enough to compete for positions of power and to access powerful posts in all sectors.

“We need to take up these powerful political positions and develop our country. Women have the expertise to come up with good policies, and they are very capable,” Mutsvangwa said.

Furthermore, WIPSU director, Sakhile Sifelani-Ngoma bemoaned the fact that the country currently has 16 females in ministerial posts out of around 42 positions yet women have been claiming 50/50 representation in Parliament and other sectors of the economy to ensure gender equality and equity.

Sifelani-Ngoma said political participation of women was firstly a human right, and secondly, a right enshrined in sections 3(g), 17, 56(2) and 80(1) of the Constitution, which stipulate that there should be gender equality in political, economic, cultural and social spheres.

However, if women who constitute 52% of the population in the country were represented at the decision-making table, their interests and concerns would be taken seriously hence the urge for women to not to take back seats but to take up those political posts.

Nyari Mashayamombe

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