Zimbabwe: Zim Women Councillors Meet President for an Indaba

Zimbabwe Local Government (ZiLGA) in partnership with Gender Links (GL) will host the “Women Councillors Indaba” on 10 December 2020 in Victoria Falls. The event that will be officiated by His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa and will draw more than 300 councillors and local government stakeholders from across the country.

ZiLGA president and Makoni Rural District Council chairperson, Alderman David Guy Mutasa said that the conference is aimed at advocating for women to occupy decision making positions at local government level.

“The need to draw the attention of the President came after the realisation that there is a continuous decline in the number of females participating in decision making bodies at local authority level in the country. This is advocacy we are trying to build because there are few women in decision making. “So, at the conference, they will be raising their issues to the President,” said Mutasa.

Women councillors from both urban and rural local authorities will present to the President issues affecting women at the local government level. Some of the concerns to be discussed emanated from the proposed Electoral bill that seeks to extend the quota system at national level with an extra two terms for parliamentarians while excluding the local government. Statistics from the last three elections show that the number of women in decision making positions at the local government level is steadily declining hence the plea for special temporary measures by female councillors. Women in Local Government Forum (WLGF) has been at the forefront of lobbying and advocacy for the 50-50 at the local level.

In April 2020 following the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s call for submissions to the Constitutional Amendment Bill no.2, WLGF submitted a position paper to parliament clamouring for the inclusion of temporary special measures for women at the local level. Following the public hearings on the Constitutional Amendment Bill the issue for inclusion of temporary special measures for local government was not considered. This prompted the Women in Local Government Forum to engage the President so he can address the plight of women in local government.

Speaking at the just ended capacity building training for journalists which sought to stregthen gender sensitive reporting on women’s political participation, Priscilla Maposa, Gender Links Zimbabwe country manager reiterated the need for temporary special measures at the local level.” There is a need for temporary special measures for women at the local government level to at least bolster their numbers. There is a highly likelihood that unless such measures are introduced at the local level, the number of women in local government will continue to decline. The Indaba presents an opportunity for women in local government to address all their concerns to the President of Zimbabwe”, she said.