By Daniel Chigundu
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s second term of office appears to be a fight against women occupying decision making positions in Zimbabwe.
The Zanu PF leader will preside over a National Assembly that will have only 84 females out of the 280 legislators.
His Presidium will be an-all-men affair after he also appointed only males (Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi) as Vice Presidents in Zimbabwe.
To make matters worse, Zanu PF has reelected Jacob Mudenda, a male as the Speaker of the National Assembly and leader of Parliament of Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa’s actions are a slap in the face of the Zimbabwean Constitution which in Section 17, encourages the state to promote the full participation of women in all spheres of Zimbabwean society on the basis of equality with men.
However, the participation of women especially in politics has been on a downward spiral in Zimbabwe.
The 2023 general elections saw only 1 female contesting for the position of President, against 10 males.
In a statement, Labour Economists and African Democrats (LEAD) leader Linda Masarira said women in Zimbabwe feeel shortchanged by the exclusion from decision making positions.
She said selective application of the constitution is severely undermining women’s rights in Zimbabwe.
‘’Women in Zimbabwe always feel shortchanged when it comes to leadership, yet they constitute 54% of the voting population. Selective application of the constitution continues to structurally undermine women’s rights in political participation and appointment to key offices in Zimbabwe.
‘’We are just demanding for at least one woman Vice President, a gender balanced cabinet and a gender balance to be observed as enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe.
‘’There is no democracy without women. We will not tire to demand what rightfully belongs to the women’s movement,’’ she said.
In the last term of government 2018-2023, there was only one female Mayor in Zimbabwe (Angeline Kasipo), in Kwekwe but she was letter removed due to factionalism fights in the MDC.
There has never been a female finance minister and a female minister of health, among others.