Hwange Central legislator Daniel Molokele has called on the government to consider changing the way legislators are voted for in the country and consider Proportional Representation like what happens in South Africa.
According to Molokele, Proportional Representation makes it easy to achieve 50 :50 representation in Parliament especially National Assembly.
Zimbabwe is currently using the First-Past-thePost (majority vote) to elect its legislators.
The system has however seen less women making it into Parliament at a time a time when the constitution talks about equal representation.
Speaking in the National Assembly during the Committee Stage of the Constitution Amendment Bill No.2, Honourable Molokele said subjecting the 210 seats to proportional representation will equalise men and women in Parliament.
‘’Even in this 2018 election, we reduced the number of women in Parliament. Alternatively, let us do proportional representation across the board so that all the 210 constituencies are under proportional representation.
‘’Then we insist that the party list for those 210 MPs should use the zebra system so that number one is a woman, number two is a man and number three is a woman until we get to 210. It will then allow us to push towards 50% representation of women in Parliament. That is a more practical approach.
‘’Also, the proposal to increase the number of MPs by 10 more, we already know that we are trying to solve a problem that we cannot solve. Young people in this country are not accommodated in their political party processes. Therefore, by adding more 10 seats, we are just repeating the same mistake that we did with the 60 seats that we allocated women.
‘’It means in 10 years time, the number of young people in Parliament will even be less than they are today. Each party will be saying you youths, you already have your 10 seats allocated and the space will be closed for the young people of this country. We are actually going to reduce the number of youths in this Parliament after 10 years,’’ he said.
Honourable Molokele also added that he is against adding more more seats in Parliament, arguing that the move will strain the fiscus.
He said the money should instead be used to repair roads or fund education in the country.
‘’I am objecting to the increase of Parliamentarians by 10 more MPs knowing the state of the economy of this country and the potential growth of the economy of this country. This Parliament is already heavy on our budget system. We are not a country that has a lot of money.
‘’This money can be better spent in repairing roads, bridges and bringing better education and quality health care for our people. Why are we increasing the size of this Parliament when we are not even able to increase the economy?
The Hwange Central legislator said ‘’If we want to increase the number of youths, let us use a proportional representation system where we tell each party that for every one adult person they are fielding, let them put a young person who is below 35 using a zebra system.
‘’The majority of voters in this country are young people below 35 and the majority of Parliamentarians are above 35. Obviously, it is not resonating with the electorate, so I am proposing that this method of allocating one seat per youth per province is not going to solve this problem,’’ he said.
Ziyambi concurs on Proportional Representation
In his response to the proposal, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi concurred with Honourable Molokele, but added that it is a discussion that can be brought forward but at the moment there is need to deal with issue of expiration of the women seats in 2023.
‘’For as long as you have, first past the post in this august House, it is very difficult to achieve 50:50 but if you have a system of proportional representation, then you can have a system whereby you can now tell the political parties to have a zebra.
‘’This is a discussion that we can have but for now the problem that we have is we have been fixated on messages that say do not touch the Constitution and we forgot that in this Constitution, there was a section that gave a timeline to empowerment of women. What we simply did is we said okay, this is a situation that we need to further discuss.
‘’Let us extent for another 10 years and because a Constitution is a document, a living document, our thinking is we will start discussions and ways that we can do to ensure that we reach our desired levels,’’ he said.
Put all 210 seats under Proportional Representation: Molokele