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New Zimbabwe

WOMEN Reform Network, a group of 25 women’s rights organisations that advocate for gender equality, has petitioned parliament seeking a 50% representation in local authorities.

Addressing journalists after handing over the petition, Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellency (WALPE) Director Sitabile Dewa said they want 50% gender equality at all levels.

“Last week we saw the Minister of Local Governance July Moyo indicating that they are going to implement the 30% Women’s Local Governance quota, outside of the 1958 wards which we feel is not justified concerning the economic challenges that Zimbabwe has,” Dewa said.

“If the government is genuine about fully implementing the constitution, why don’t they revert to section 17, 56 and 80 of the constitution and make sure that women are equally represented from the community level up to the cabinet and presidential level,” she said.

“We are tired of tokenism where women are just given seats that do not exist, 30% seats are not going to be representing any ward or constituency. These are just extra seats where women are supposed to just go to council and do nothing.  So, if they are genuine, they need to go back to the drawing table and make sure that they genuinely implement gender equality provisions and stipulated in the constitution,” she added.

The pressure group says if the government insists on implementing the proposal of 30% women’s proportional representation quota in local authorities, the 587 seats should be within the already existing 1958 and they are ready to assist the government with models for implementing the quota within.

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