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The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) statement on new
cabinet and reduction in representation of women
September 11, 2013
Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) is dismayed by the reduction in the
representation of women in the new
cabinet that was announced yesterday, Tuesday 10 September 2013.
There are only 11 women out of the 64 cabinet ministers, deputy
ministers and ministers of state for provincial affairs. We note
that there are 86 women in parliament from which to choose from
and we therefore do not understand this exclusion of women. Women,
as a result, form a paltry 9% of cabinet and this is far below the
percentage of representation stipulated in section 17.1b of the
which says that,
the state must take all measures including legislative measures,
needed to ensure that both genders are equally represented in all
institutions and agencies of government at EVERY LEVEL”.
women constitute at least half the membership of all commissions
and other elective and appointed governmental bodies established
by or under this constitution, or any act of parliament”.
was signed into the supreme law of Zimbabwe in May 2013. Zimbabwe
also signed and ratified the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development
and the African Union Women’s Rights Protocol which commits
the country to 50% representation of women in all decision making
bodies at all levels.
WCoZ as the
umbrella body of women’s organisations, worked so valiantly
to have gender equality and equity provisions enshrined in the new
constitution. We believe very strongly that Zimbabwe should be among
the leaders in gender equality and women’s empowerment. We
therefore note with dismay the considerable percentage decrease
in the representation of women in the new cabinet. Even more worrying
is the fact that the disparities are consistent throughout the other
structures. The recent cabinet appointments fly in the face of guarantees
in the constitution, which, it appears, for now, will remain on
WCoZ is therefore
calling on the leadership of the country to respect the constitutional
guarantees of equality of representation in decision-making bodies.
This also relates to the chairpersons of the parliamentary portfolio
committees that will be set up soon. We urge for serious consideration
of equal representation in the leadership of these bodies. Having
celebrated the adoption of affirmative action in the additional
60 reserved seats in parliament, which in hindsight is solely responsible
for the considerable increase in the number sitting in the legislature,
the women of Zimbabwe, through their representative organisations,
are looking forward to improved representation not only in numbers
but in effect, in line with the constitution and other legal instruments.
WCoZ will continue
to work with its stakeholders in government among others to lobby
for the positive transformation of socio-economic and political
structures, systems and outcomes that will see real women’s
empowerment and gender equality. We will be working with all cabinet
ministers and structures and national and local government level
to ensure that we have a society in which all women and girl’s
rights are respected.
Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCoZ) however, welcomes the appointment of
Hon. Oppah Muchinguri as the Minister of Women Affairs, Gender and
Community Development. Having worked very well together in the past
and achieved key milestones, we are confident of more positive results
ahead. With the new constitution as a framework with which to lobby
for the translation of laws and policies into implementation, we
will achieve a lot more.
WCoZ also welcomes
the appointment of Hon. Dr Olivia Muchena, Hon. Sithembiso Nyoni
and Hon. Flora Bhuka into substantive cabinet positions of Higher
and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Small
and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development and Minister
of State for Presidential Affairs respectively. WCoZ will continue
to work with all three ministers as gender and women’s rights
issues transcend all sectors. We are also pleased to note the inclusion
of the women Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs, Hon. Eunice
Moyo and Hon. Miriam Chikukwa. WCoZ also celebrates the inclusion
of the five deputy ministers, namely Hon Alice Mabuwa, Hon. Tabeth
Malinga, Hon. Petronella Kagonye, Hon. Abigail Damasane and Hon.
Chiratidzo Iris Mlambo.
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