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Zimbabwe’s newly elected President urged to place women’s rights on the agenda

September 8, 2018

By Wallace Mawire

The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) has urge the President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa and his administration to ensure women’s rights are at the centre in the implementation of commitments they have made.

WCOZ said that of critical importance is ensuring that gender
sensitive and gender responsive structures are strengthened and
adequately resourced.

“The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ), representing nonpartisan
women’s rights organizations and activists in all 10 provinces of
Zimbabwe wishes to join the rest of Zimbabwe in congratulating His
Excellence, Emmerson Mnangagwa on his election and inauguration as the
President of the Republic of Zimbabwe” WCOZ said.

WCoZ said that it acknowledges and takes cognisance of the commitments
that his Excellence made in his speech during his inauguration which
include the need for Zimbabwe’s renewal in all socio economic sectors,
to position the country in readiness for economic growth,
industrialization, modernization and mechanization, employment
creation, democracy, delivery of efficient and quality social services
and equally important, the advancement and empowerment of women, youth
and the disabled.

Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe said it called upon the President to,
appoint a gender balanced executive,appoint women in the portfolios of
Health, Finance, Education, Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministries, to
which men have been perennially appointed,extend the women quotas
beyond 2023 and this to be applicable to local government as
well,ensure the State puts in place incentives and punitive measures
through the review of the Political Parties Finance Act for political
parties that fail the 50 percent gender representation,ensure full
domestication of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of
Persons with Disabilities, underpinned by women’s rights,allocate 15%
of the total 2018 budget to the Health sector in line with the Abuja
Declaration, and a return to the prioritization of the primary health
care model in Zimbabwe.

The new President has also been called upon to implement laws that
significantly improve the state’s response to eradicating gender based
violence.

“We want marriage law reform to be accelerated, in particular the
finalization of the marriage Bill which will put to rest the
contradictions on the age of consent to marriage and set it to 18
years. We also need implementation of laws ensuring the prosecution of
offenders that are marrying young girls,’ WCOZ said.

The Presidum has also been called upon to take all measures to end
violence against women in public and private spaces and further ensure
that women are represented in the independent commission investigating
cases of political violence that occurred on the 1st of August 2018,to
demonstrate the respect of the right to freedom of expression by the
removal of laws that erode these rights, including AIPPA and POSA,
whilst ensuring that hate speech is not tolerated and that public
political affairs are promoting women voices, dignity and influence to
positively shape public opinion,ensure that all laws that relate to
allocation of land such as the Rural Lands Act, Agricultural land
Settlement Act and land Acquisition Act have gender equality
provisions and reserved quotas, ensuring that Statutory Instrument 53
of 2014 on Land is made into an Act of Parliament to enable women to
have secure land rights upon divorce and death of the permit
holder,ensure that the Zimbabwe open for business mantra is gender
inclusive.

Government has also been urged to commit to improving quality and
quantity of care-related infrastructure and services that is well
targeted at those doing substantial UCW, e.g, water supply, community
health services, electricity supply. “Government should also dedicate
adequate resources to achieve this”.

“We therefore expect that the office of the president, all duty
bearers with a mandate to advance Women’s Rights and Gender Equality
will be alive to the demands we have expressed in this statement”,
said Ronika Mumbire (Chairperson), Sally Ncube (National Coordinator)
of the WCOZ.

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