HARARE – The centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe (CCDZ) has called on government to reward women with senior positions to enable them to participate effectively in critical national processes.
CCDZ programmes manager, Tinashe Chatira told a Chinhoyi residents stakeholders’ dialogue meeting last week that the low participation of women in national decision making processes was a stumbling block to development.
She bemoaned the fact that most of the women in cabinet were deputies, a development which showed the country’s top leadership still had no confidence in them.
“Imagine only four women were appointed ministers out of a total of over 30 ministers and only 26 women were voted in Parliament out of 210 parliamentarians”, Chatira said.
“Such a mentality tallies with the old fashioned way of thinking whereby women are viewed as only suitable to be secretaries, cooks and tailors,” she fumed.
Hilda Musendami, a member of Zano Mukadzi Women’s Empowerment Trust, a Chinhoyi-based women organisation noted that men in politics did not support women candidates yet required their support when a male candidate is fielded by a political party.
“In all the wards in Chinhoyi, not even a single woman made it as a councillor.”
Musendami said women across the political divide were told they could not vie for various positions since they were catered for through the proportional representation, allowing them to have 60 seats in Parliament and 50 percent in the Senate.
She also highlighted that youths resist campaigning for female candidates because they do not want to buy beer and drugs when campaigning, a strategy which their male counterparts thrive on.
Participants also noted that polarisation along partisan lines since the July 31 elections won by Zanu PF was a major hindrance to development in Chinhoyi.
“Vanhu vanotanga vatarisa kuti adaidzira musangano ndiyani” (people attend meetings on the grounds of political party affiliation of the conveners).
“We were intimidated by Zanu PF youths for attending victory celebrations for the incumbent Member of Parliament (Peter Matarutse)”, said a youth who only identified himself as Japhet.
Patrick Muwamba, a Zanu PF activist defended his party saying it was a principled party with disciplined cadres.
He encouraged participants to report their concerns to the party’s leadership.
“President Mugabe was at the fore-front of calling for peace in the last harmonised elections and the party as a whole has taken that line,” he said.
CCDZ Information officer, George Makoni urged participants to take the discussion seriously saying dialogue promoted development in every community.
He warned residents against being divided on political lines, saying it was retrogressive in community development.
The meeting was attended by representatives of Chinhoyi Residents Association, political parties, churches, business community, council, youth organisations, students, women’s organisations, the informal sector and ordinary people.