THE election of women into Parliament will provide them with a platform to prove that they can perform just like their male counterparts, an outgoing Cabinet minister has said.Outgoing Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Dr Olivia Muchena, who was addressing a Women In Politics Support Unit meeting in Harare yesterday, expressed confidence in female leaders.
“We want to be role models. We want to show the electorate in Zimbabwe that if women are given the chance to be in decision-making posts, they make a differences,” said Dr Muchena.
“We are there to perform. This is the opportunity for female parliamentarians to prove that they are hard workers, responsible and can perform just like men.”
The Eighth Parliament has 85 women out of 270 legislators who secured seats in the National Assembly.
The figure rose to 85 after factoring 60 seats reserved for women as provided for by the new Constitution of Zimbabwe as part of efforts to strike gender parity in decision making.
The Senate, however, fell short of achieving 50-50 representation in the Upper House with 39 women out of the 80 members.
Dr Muchena urged women to be united and work together than develop to pull each other down
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission spokesperson commissioner Petty Makoni said she was proud of women in politics.
“As ZEC we had a banner that was encouraging women to vote for other women during the harmonised elections. We are concerned that few women went through the first part the post,” she said.
Outgoing Minister of Public Service Lucia Matibenga applauded the new Constitution for increasing women’s participation in Parliament.
She said women should go to their political parties and propose more women’s participation in leadership.
“We need to go further and legislate to political parties on 50-50 percent representation. I commend all the women who participated during the drafting of the new Constitution,” she said.
Mrs Matibenga urged the incoming Members of Parliament to justify their presence in the National Assembly by being punctual and conducting themselves professionally during the proceedings.
“You should exude confidence even if it is your first time in Parliament. The electorate chose you because they have confidence in you. Be relevant and well groomed,” she said.
Women In Politics acting director Mrs Priscah Mudondo said: “While Zimbabwe had missed the goals of having 50-50 percent representation in the Parliament by 2015, we celebrate the increase in the percentage of women representation in the Parliament and Senate,” she said.
The meeting provided women with a chance to share experiences and equip each other with knowledge and skills on how to conduct business in Parliament.
Most women said there was need to address the challenge of funding which was affecting many women who wanted to actively participate in politics.