SENIOR STAFF WRITER
ZIMBABWEAN women have urged President Emmerson Mnangagwa to appoint a female candidate to the vice presidency post to replace his former deputy, Kembo Mohadi, who resigned on Monday.
Mohadi was forced to vacate office as a result of a sex scandal after the leaking of salacious telephone recordings he allegedly made with married women.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has only had one woman in the presidium in former vice president Joice Mujuru, who was in the post between 2004 and 2014 before she was fired by the late former president Robert Mugabe at the height of the ruling party’s factional wars.
The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (Wcoz) and Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (Walpe) and various other female advocacy groups believe Mnangagwa should make the appointment based on merit and foster gender balance, by including a woman in the presidium.
Walpe executive director Sithabile Dewa said it was high time Mnangagwa gave a woman the top position to ensure their inclusion in the decision-making processes.
“The appointment of a female vice president is long overdue and we expect the president to do the right thing and right the wrongs of 2018.
“By appointing a female vice president, the president would have respected tenets of Section 17, 56 and 80 of the Constitution.
“Women being the majority of the population and the most affected by the social, economic, political and environmental challenges in the country it is prudent to have representation in one of the highest offices in the country in fulfilment of national, regional and international statutes that call for gender balance in all leadership and decision-making processes,” Dewa said.
The women constituency in the country said that history should not weigh down on constitutional guarantees that provide for gender parity.
“Fully cognisant of both contemporary and historical factors that may weigh upon the presidency at this point, the nation must reflect at the intrinsic and active participation of women in the political and governance processes that have built and continue to build Zimbabwe,” Wcoz chairperson Evernice Munando said.
“We take this opportunity to remind the nation that women’s political participation at all levels is commensurate with that of men as a fundamental prerequisite for gender equality and genuine democracy.
“Cognisant of this opportune time, we urge the president to exercise his powers to appoint a female vice president, in a manner that demonstrates his often-stated commitment to equality in appointments and electoral representation.”