Women’s groups demand gender-balanced cabinet

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa addresses the media after a Cabinet meeting while flanked by Finance and Economic Development minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Sekai Nzenza and Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri at Munhumutapa Offices in Harare yesterday (Picture by Tawanda Mudimu)

The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) and Labour, Economists and African Democrats (LEAD) have demanded that President Emmerson Mnangagwa appoint a gender-balanced cabinet, in accordance with the constitution.

The constitution of Zimbabwe mandates the state to achieve gender balance by ensuring that women constitute at least half the membership of appointed government bodies.

“In the coming days, the President of Zimbabwe will be seized with the appointment of Ministers and Deputy Ministers, as provided by Section 104 of the constitution of Zimbabwe. While he will appoint from among Senators or Members of parliament, he also enjoys the unfettered power to appoint up to seven Ministers or Deputy Ministers from outside Parliament.”

“As the country contemplates on the possible outcome of the appointments, it is important to understand that the President of Zimbabwe is mandated by Section 104 (4) of the constitution to execute his appointing duty guided by gender consideration,” said WCOZ.

However, the WCOZ said that women remain under-represented in key decision-making areas such as Parliament and Cabinet.

“The just ended 2023 elections, in particular the National Assembly race, have laid bare the patriarchal nature of public leadership and the systematic discrimination of women, embedded at every level in the Zimbabwe society,” said the WCOZ.

LEAD president Linda Masarira said that the appointment of Vice Presidents without a woman was a “selective application of the Constitution” that undermines women’s rights.

“We are just demanding for at least one-woman vice president, a gender balanced cabinet and gender balance to be observed as enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Masarira.

The women’s organizations called on President Mnangagwa to uphold the constitution and appoint a gender-balanced cabinet.

“We urge President Mnangagwa to fulfill his constitutional obligation and appoint a gender-balanced cabinet that reflects the diversity of the Zimbabwean people,” said the WCOZ. – Cite