Constitutional Amendment, Clause #11
When the 2013 Constitution was drafted, a special provision was added to encourage women to participate in politics and ensure gender equality. The provision was only valid for 2 terms and expires just before elections in 2023.
The temporary provision states that 60 women (6 from each of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces) are to be elected under a system of proportional representation.
Proportional representation works like this:
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If “Party A” receives 66% of the National Assembly vote in a particular Province & “Party B” gets 33%, then “Party A” must nominate 4 women (66%) & “Party B” must nominate 2 women (33%) to the National Assembly.
Since the provision is set to expire, the long term solution is enshrined in Section 17(1)(b) of the Constitution. It states that GoZ must “take all measures to ensure that women constitute half the membership of all commissions & other elective & appointed governmental bodies”.
The new amendment proposes to extend the old system of proportional representation for another 2 terms (i.e, until 2033). In short, it’s an excuse for political parties to avoid nominating 50% female candidates and for some incumbents to avoid giving up their seats.
But it’s not just about proportional representation in @ParliamentZim. Zimbabwe’s cabinet, for example, comprises 27 cabinet ministers, of which, only 5 are women. There are many other government institutions and bodies which could benefit from increased female participation.
During the drafting of the 2013 Constitution, Zimbabweans voted YES to gender equality. The current amendment, though seemly positive, perpetuates discrimination against women and prevents greater participation by women in all areas of politics.
In addition to this, the amendment proposes the addition of another 10 seats to parliament for proportional Youth representation (i.e, one from each Province). It works the same way as women’s representation and much of the same argument applies here also:
Unlike the Women’s quota, in which several parties are proportionally represented, the fact that there can only be one youth candidate from each province suggests that this amendment is essentially unfair because only one party can be represented.
Instead of creating additional seats, paying additional salaries, benefits and allowances from an already strained fiscus for an already bloated parliament, political parties should rather nominate more youth candidates for the 210 seats which already exist.
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