Women and Law in Southern Africa , in partnership with UN Women Zimbabwe, African Women Leadership Network - Zimbabwe and Hivos with support from International IDEA convened the High-level intergenerational dialogue on Women's Political Participation in Harare recently.
The main purpose of the High level dialogue was to create a platform for regional and global solidarity for women political participation (WPP) in Zimbabwe as the country heads towards the 23 August harmonised elections. The dialogue was used as a tool to strengthen intergenerational dialogue to retain women leaders already in public political office, mentor and empower young women leaders to enhance their leadership capacities in politics and Decision making.
Speaking during the intergenerational dialogue on women's political participation, Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who was representing President Emmerson Mnangagwa said Intergenerational partnerships improve communication between generations. They allow for the introduction of young women to the political arena and a platform for identifying new talent to politics.
"My government is committed to the inclusion of women in governance and electoral processes. A culture of positive masculinity should be encouraged at all levels from the males leaders to the young boy across the social strata," Vice President Chiwenga said
Speaking the same event former President of the Senate, Mrs Edna Madzongwe said “As a young MP, you need to establish that women are intelligent by debating with intelligence. Be aware that you can move motions on addressing what is wrong in the society. It is high time women are respected for their knowledge and nothing else.”
As Zimbabwe gears for the 2023 harmonised national elections, Women and Law in Southern Zimbabwe, make the following specific recommendations and calls for:
1. PEACE an essential ingredient for free, fair and credible elections. PEACE and freedom from gender-based violence fosters women’s effective participation in the political process. Tinokumbirisa Runyararo munyika!
2. 50:50 Gender Parity: Full support for women's effective participation to realise the gender parity 50.50 principle within Constitution, thus seeking full support of women as candidates, as voters, as elections administrators and in the media. We call for the implementation of the quota for women in local government.
3. Zero tolerance to violence against women and girls during elections and in our
communities, including on sexual abuse and child rape of girls. We make a special call, urge, request for immediate action against paedophiles and rapists who break
Zimbabwe’s laws on child marriage and hide behind culture or religion. The sanctity of our religion and sacred protective value of our culture should not be abused by criminals masquerading as “husbands” to minors.
4. Regional solidarity: Women and Law in Southern Africa stand for peace at regional level (SADC) and indeed at the continental level. As Women and Law in Southern Africa we stand with our sisters in Mozambique and in Sudan at this moment as they strive for peace. In this regard, we echo their call for participation in peace processes, protection from gender based violence and gender responsive humanitarian assistance including for the people displaced in refugee camps.
5. Government, partners and friends of Women and Law in Southern Africa in Zimbabwe and beyond to continue to walk the journey with us as women and young women, as we take forward the implementation of the outcome of our High Level Inter-Generational Dialogue on women's political participation.