Zanu PF wants Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to initiate another constitutional amendment, but this time, to ensure that the provision which saw 60 women getting into Parliament on free seats continues beyond 2023.
The first constitutional amendment was Constitution Amendment No. 1, which gave the president powers to appoint the chief justice, deputy chief justice and judge president of his choice.
Zanu PF deputy chief whip Obedingwa Mguni (pictured) has already given notice in the National Assembly that he will introduce the motion to ensure it is debated in Parliament so that the processes to amend the constitution can begin.
The proportional representation (PR) quota under section 120(2) (a) of the constitution provides for the election of senators under a party system of proportional representation, in which male and female candidates are listed alternatively, with females heading the list, while section 124(1) (b) provides for seats (60) to be reserved for women. The PR quota will expire in 2023.
The motion to amend the constitution is likely to be supported by legislators across the political divide as female MPs from the MDC Alliance applauded as Mguni made Zanu PF intentions known
“Section 124 (1) (b) of the constitution provides that in the first 10 years there must be additional 60 seats for women as part of efforts to enhance women participation, and section 122 (b) of the constitution provides for senators to be elected in a proportional representation party list system, in which the party list should have male and female candidates,” Mguni said.
“The Sadc Parliamentary Forum applauded Zimbabwe for taking such an initiative to empower women in Parliament after representation increased from 18, 2% in 2008 to 31% in 2018.”
He said given that the number of female MPs had gone down marginally compared to the figure during the Eight Parliament, there were fears that if the proportional representation quota expires in 2023, there would be less women in future parliaments.
“Realising that this achievement came through constitutional provisions, which are likely to be reversed considering the political terrain which is highly uneven, I call upon the Ministry of Justice to initiate constitutional amendments to remove the 10-year cap for women so that Zimbabwe becomes a leader in promoting women in Sadc,” Mguni said.
In the current Ninth Parliament, the National Assembly has 31% female representation, a drop from 35% in the previous Parliament.
Senate representation is better although it comes short of the 50/50 gender parity representation with only 35 out of 80 senators being women, constituting 43,75%.
The constitutional amendment motion is likely to be debated soon in Parliament.