Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women and Youth Affairs and Matabeleland South Member of Parliament, Priscilla Misihairabwi Mushonga has chided political parties represented in parliament for refusing to sign a charter committing to gender equality saying their level of anti women is frightening.
Addressing an Electoral Amendment Bill workshop in Harare today, Mushonga said political parties must be forced to adopt a 50/50 representation with those who submit forms without equal representation being invalidated.
She expressed concern over the conduct of political parties saying women are being abused making the political space an unsafe environment citing the recent video posted by former Zanu PF activist, Acie Lumumba who ripped into the MDC-T leader Thokozani Khupe.
“We want every provision to be gender mainstreamed, be it voter education, electoral processes, nomination forms and agents and the most important being the one that speaks to trying to force political parties to have a 50/50 representation, so we have a very bold clause that says if a political party submits nomination forms which does not have a 50/50 then that nomination should be invalidated,
“For us that is one of our biggest clauses cause we are seeing just from primaries that we are not going to have women as candidates, just the primary elections are an indicator, secondly we did a gender equality charter which asked the three political parties that are in parliament to sign but all refused to sign that charter, so it speaks to the issue that unless we have it as law they will not submit themselves to ensuring that there is 50/50,
“The code of conduct also has to be made into law, you can’t have people speaking hate language, you are just saw one that was done by Acie Lumumba, if someone can speak in such a misogyny way and such abusive language and that person is allowed to stand as a candidate then we can forget a code of conduct, there has to be a bottom line as to what candidate should speak, with people talking like this the environment is not safe for women to participate,” explained Mushonga.
Mushonga added that of the 210 Members of Parliament 105 must be women.
Addressing journalists, Mutare Central Member of Parliament, Innocent Gonese said there are quite a number of areas that need to be addressed in terms of amending the electoral bill particularly voter education.
“I have made a very comprehensive proposals covering some technical issues relating to the issue of maintenance of polling station based voters rolls, removal of the Registrar General from the whole process of voter registration, also covering issues relating to voter education which has been problematic in terms of the monopoly given to ZEC and the ousting of other players, organizations and individuals.
“The proposals should make it clear that all Zimbabweans have the right to impart information to the others relating to voter education,” said Gonese.