GOVERNMENT has started putting systems in place to ensure at least 30 percent of all Local Government councillors are women.
From the next elections in 2023, 30 percent of seats in local authorities will be reserved for women and will be contested by female candidates.
This is in line with calls by women organisations for the Government to expedite gender representation equality in local authorities as well as the appointment of females in key positions in Government ministries.
Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said President Mnangagwa noted that it was necessary to consider extending the women’s quota to councils and urged women councillors to equally develop and implement concrete strategies to realise their objectives.
Minister Moyo said last year President Mnangagwa met women councillors during the inaugural Zimbabwe Local Government Association of Zimbabwe (Zilga) women councillors’ indaba, which was held under the banner of “Women in Local Government Forum” (WILGF) in Victoria Falls where he committed himself to making sure that women representation in councils is increased.
“So, we have started the process of putting systems in place to ensure at least 30 percent of all Local Government councillors are women.
For example, Mberengwa Rural District Council has 37 Wards or seats and 30 percent of this should be 11 seats which will be set aside for women. The women will contest each other in those Wards,” he said.
Addressing Zanu-PF supporters at the belated International Women’s Day commemorations held at Zvemukonde Business Centre in Mberengwa on Friday Minister Moyo said President Mnangagwa was worried that female representation in local authorities has continued to drop since 2008.
The International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on March 8 to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women.
“In 2008, out of the 740 council seats that were contested, 373 women were elected representing 19 percent, in 2013 a total of 899 candidates contested for local authority elections and out of those 323 women won representing 16,2 percent, which was a drop by 2,8 percent and in 2018, 1 176 candidates contested and out of those 261 women won, which was a drop by 13,3 percent. Government is therefore working on fixing the gender disparities and ensuring that more women are represented in local authorities and are appointed to positions of authority in Government and other sectors,” he said.
Minister Moyo said women participation in socio-economic affairs of the country was of utmost importance in line with Vision 2030.
“President Mnangagwa has said we should attain the upper to middle class economy by 2030 and that is possible if we work hand in hand with the women. We need our women, our mothers, our daughters, our sisters to occupy leadership roles in all sectors of the economy,” he said.
Zanu-PF Midlands provincial chairperson Engineer Daniel Mackenzie Ncube reiterated the need for women to support each other.
He said they should also get national identification cards and register to vote so that the dream to realise gender parity in local authorities is realised.
“President Mnangagwa is hands on the deck, he is a man of action and you should go and get national IDs if you do already have, go and register and support each other as women to get those leadership positions. We know women want to see something closer to the constitutional ideal of gender equality which is a sustainable way to attain equality in terms of decision making in local government,” said Eng Mackenzie Ncube.
Mberengwa RDC chairperson Councillor Nyembesi Shumba commended the Government for advocating for gender parity.
She said women’s representation at the local level is critical for prioritising women’s practical and development needs.
“Women are at the centre of socio-economic development and therefore the need to have them fill up the leadership positions. We commend President Mnangagwa for agreeing and starting this process to make sure that our dream is met,” said Clr Shumba who is one of the five women councillors in the 37-member council.
President Mnangagwa has said the setting up of public institutions such as the Gender Commission and the Women Micro Finance Bank as well as the domestication of international conventions and protocols on women issues are some of the interventions Zimbabwe has made to achieve women empowerment.