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meeting for the Women's Parliamentary Caucus
March 27, 2009
voices be heard in the Constitution Making Process - Female MP
Coalition of Zimbabwe in conjunction with Zimbabwe
Women Lawyers Association invited the Women's Parliamentary
Caucus on Thursday, 26 March 2009, to the Holiday Inn for a Breakfast
Meeting to discuss and share strategies on how to engender the leadership
and processes of writing the national constitution of Zimbabwe.
The process of writing the constitution will be driven by a Parliamentary
Committee and there was need for female policy makers to influence
the process for their optimal and critical participation. The meeting
brought together 50 members of the Women's Parliamentary Caucus
and 25 civic society leaders to interface and strategize.
Khumalo, Deputy Speaker of Parliament welcomed the Ministers, Deputy
Ministers, Members of Parliaments and Senators. She stressed the
importance of sensetising the MPs with relevant information for
them to engage fully in processes happening from parliament. This
was followed by a presentation by Emilia Muchawa, Chairperson of
WCoZ and Director of Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association. Emilia
argued that women should engender the constitution making process
because the the constitution is the primary /ultimate law in the
country and should reflect women's lived reality and protect
women and girls' rights. Women constitute the majority of
the Zimbabwean population and a people driven constitution means
that women should participate in the majority.
that fact that the Interparty
Political Agreement signed on 15th September 2008 in article
VI recognises the right and duty of Zimbabweans to make a constitution
for themselves- people driven, inclusive and democratic. The constitution
should deepen democratic values and principles, particularly the
enhancement of full citizenship and equality of women. Parties resolved
to set up a Parliamentary Select Committee to drive the process.
The Parliamentary select committee will be set up by the standing
orders and rules committee. The Select committee will set up subcommittees
chaired by a member of parliament and made up of MPs and civil society
term economic Recovery Plan (STERP) recognises the urgency of
the constitutional review process.
of the Parliamentary Select Committee is to set up sub committees,
hold public hearings, convene an all stakeholders conference for
consultation, table draft constitution to a stakeholders conference,
report to parliament on its recommendations and organise a referendum.
This process will run from the 13th April 2009 until on or about
12th October 2010
The main call
from the policy makers during the plenary discuss was that they
needed intensive awareness raising around the constitution, constitution
making process and directions in executing their roles. Female parliamentarians
lacked basic knowledge on the constitution and processes but NGOs
assumed they have it. This hampers their effective engagement and
participation. MPs needed this information so they can strategise,
lobby and advocate within their political parties
Experience in 1999 and 2000 revealed that the constitution process
once started becomes very masculine. Women needed to jump into the
fray and take leadership. WCoZ and membership need to educate and
inform around the constitution. Women lawyers should take the lead
in the different parliamentary Committees and Sub-Committees. Women
in civic society should get active with research and publicize on
the discourse of women and the constitution. Women should demand
a gender commission in the constitution making process and be very
bold as they participate in this process. Policy makers and women's
NGOs should mobilize women across the country to participate.
The Standing Orders Committee
has already been selected. It will select Parliamentary Committees
on the 30th of March 2009. The Standing Orders Committees will set
up the Constitutional Parliamentary Committees by the 14th of April
2009. MPs were encouraged to express their preferences to their
chief whips. There was need to collect CVs from MPs interested
UNDP requested WCoZ to
come up with a structured process of a way forward in the constitution
making process and submit a global proposal to funders.
In her closing Remarks
by Honourable Flora Bhuka expressed gratitude to WCoZ for the timeous
workshop on engendering the constitution making process. She asked
WCoZ and its membership to make this a continuous process of engagement
with policy makers and raise issues of concern. She requested that
women across political divides continue to caucus and strategise
on issues of national concern.
She encouraged policy
makers to influence selections into Parliamentary Committees so
that they have adequate representation of women. She made a plea
to women to focus on supporting one another.
Visit the Women's
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