By Daniel Chigundu
Zanu PF legislator for Chegutu West Dexter Nduna has called on his party to consider using its 2/3 majority in Parliament to change the constitution to extend the Proportional Representation term limit to infinity.
Proportional Representation which was brought about as a way of capacitating women to be able to stand on their after 10 years in the election is set to end in 2023.
However, there is a general feeling that women will not have been empowered enough to contest against men and therefore there is a need to extend the window.
The issue to extend the tenure was first suggested by the Speaker of Parliament Jacob Mudenda last year and was also popularised by Honourable Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Honourable Nduna said there is nothing wrong with changing the constitution for the good of the people and that Zanu PF should use its numbers in Parliament to that effect.
“Madam Speaker, it is not lost on us to change laws for the good order and governance of the people of Zimbabwe. I am alive to a piece of legislation or a part of the Constitution which can do well if changed for the nation.
“This piece of the Constitution speaks to and about the proportional representation in this House, in particular, the women. It was enacted into the Constitution in 2013 and was going to run for two terms up to 2023.
“It is my fervent view and hopes that whilst Zanu PF has got the two-thirds majority, aware that Zanu PF is gender sensitive, aware that Zanu PF is also mandated with aligning itself to the sustainable development goals; that the Hon. Members in this House are going to see it also in their hearts to change the Constitution so that the issue of proportional representation can continue ad infinitum. In so doing, we can have this gender parity both in word and in deeds.
“I shudder to think what would happen if we go on to 2023 and we stop having proportional representation in this House. I have always said and I will continue to say, what men can do women can do better,” he said.
Honourable Nduna added that women are needed in Parliament and that can only happen if the law is changed to ensure the proportional representation is maintained.
The number of women has been on a downward trend owing to the unwillingness of political parties in the country to consider gender equality or parity.
According to Honourable Mudenda, if nothing is done women risk finding themselves out of Parliament.
The Chegutu West legislator said women need to be protected so that they can be back in Parliament in 2023 elections.
“We have 60 women in this Parliament and it is my clarion call that let us protect these women. We need them in the next Parliament after 2023, let us change the Constitution to read that these women continue after 2023.
“Let us use the majority that Zanu PF has got in order to change the laws for the good, order and governance of these proportional women,” he said.
Women have generally complained that the current political environment favours males more than women and that they are not given equal opportunities in parties.
Despite constituting the majority in terms of the country’s population and even on the voters roll, women have largely played a supporting role to males in political parties and are only considered when there is need to be seen to be meeting certain conditions and requirements.-