Placing Women’s Rights on the President’s Agenda
The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ), representing nonpartisan women’s rights organizations and activists in all 10 provinces of Zimbabwe wishes to join the rest of Zimbabwe in congratulating His Excellence, Emmerson Mnangagwa on his election and inauguration as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
WCoZ acknowledges and take cognisance of the commitments that his Excellence made in his speech during his inauguration which include the need for Zimbabwe’s renewal in all socio economic sectors, to position our country in readiness for economic growth, industrialization, modernization and mechanization, employment creation, democracy, delivery of efficient and quality social services and equally important, the advancement and empowerment of women, youth and the disabled.
We urge his Excellence and his administration to ensure women’s rights are at the center in the implementation of these commitments. Of critical importance is ensuring that gender sensitive and gender responsive structures are strengthened and adequately resourced.
Therefore as Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, we call upon the President to:
- Appoint a gender balanced executive.
- Appoint women in the portfolios of Health, Finance, Education, Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries, to which men have been perennially appointed.
- Extend the women quotas beyond 2023 and this to be applicable to local government as well
- Ensure the State puts in place incentives and punitive measures through the review of the Political Parties Finance Act for political parties that fail the 50 percent gender representation.
- Ensure full domestication of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, underpinned by women’s rights.
- Allocate 15% of the total 2018 budget to the Health sector in line with the Abuja Declaration, and a return to the prioritization of the primary health care model in Zimbabwe.
- Implement laws that significantly improve the state’s response to eradicating gender based violence. We want marriage law reform to be accelerated, in particular the finalization of the marriage Bill which will put to rest the contradictions on the age of consent to marriage and set it to 18 years. We also need implementation of laws ensuring the prosecution of offenders that are marrying young girls
- Take all measures to end violence against women in public and private spaces and further ensure that women are represented in the independent commission investigating cases of political violence that occurred on the 1st of August 2018.
- Demonstrate the respect of the right to freedom of expression by the removal of laws that erode these rights, including AIPPA and POSA, whilst ensuring that hate speech is not tolerated and that public political affairs are promoting women voices, dignity and influence to positively shape public opinion.
- Ensure that all laws that relate to allocation of land such as the Rural Lands Act, Agricultural land Settlement Act and land Acquisition Act have gender equality provisions and reserved quotas. Also ensure that Statutory Instrument 53 of 2014 on Land is made into an Act of Parliament to enable women to have secure land rights upon divorce and death of the permit holder.
- Ensure that the Zimbabwe open for business mantra is gender inclusive
- Government to commit to improving quality and quantity of care-related infrastructure and services that is well targeted at those doing substantial UCW, e.g, water supply, community health services, electricity supply. Government should also dedicate adequate resources to achieve this.
We therefore expect that the office of the president, all duty bearers with a mandate to advance Women’s Rights and Gender Equality will be alive to the demands we have expressed in this statement.