Gender Forum debates entice Bulawayo Residents

WOMEN’S Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) held the long awaited Gender Forum at Bulawayo’s Small City Hall on Friday, 7 April 2017. This meeting was the second one of its kind after the Gwanda community openly welcomed the discussions in open arms.

The meeting had members from the local leadership, community women, public leadership and panellists who included Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, Professor Welshman Ncube and Dr Gorden Moyo. The forum was running under the theme: “Calling Political Leadership to Account to women on the Gender Quota System in the Constitution.”

“There is a compulsion for the Zimbabwean Constitution to be placed under enforceable clauses,” explained Professor Welshman Ncube, a president of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) during the meeting.

After the nation came to terms with the thought that the Constitution of Zimbabwe was inclusive of the Gender Quota System, Professor Ncube clearly made a statement that the women’s rights which are enshrined in the Bill of rights were not enforceable.

However, other panellists who were present highlighted that their political parties do not cater adequately for the Gender Quota System as they have no policies to uphold women’s rights.

Currently, the representation of women in MDC and the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) stands at 30% which was stressed as too little to address the demands of women.

According to Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, the president of ZAPU, women are to blame for not taking up leadership roles because they do not make use of available  opportunities.  He further stated that in his party there is a vacant post that is meant to be occupied by a woman and encourages for any female party member to take up this responsibility.

Dr Dabengwa said he is not in a position to appoint in his capacity as the party president in the Executive Appointment as it may evoke significant problems especially amongst women.

The two representatives from ZAPU and MDC stated that they are yet to review their policies pertaining to the Gender Quota System especially after they hold party congress meetings.

Professor Ncube emphasised that in order for the Gender Quota System to be fully implemented, the Zimbabwean Constitution should first be re-aligned to electoral laws.

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