As per our undertaking, Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE), has been closely monitoring the ongoing MDC Congress nominations process and it is disheartening to see how women are being side-lined from senior leadership positions.

The proportion of women nominated to the highest decision making body of the party, the standing committee, so far is a cause for concern. Less than 10% of all the nominations from the 3 provinces are women and most have been nominated to subordinate positions.

As a party which portrays itself as the democratic alternative, expectations are that the MDC should do better and give more women an opportunity as the country seeks to attain the 50-50 gender representation as envisaged in Section 17, 56 and 80 of the constitution.

As WALPE, we thus raise a red flag and call on the MDC to seriously introspect and create a conducive environment for women to effectively and actively occupy influential leadership positions. Having more women in leadership positions is part of a global United Nations campaign under the Sustainable Development goal number 5 and political parties must make significant strides in making sure women occupy senior leadership positions and are allowed to freely discharge their duties. The participation of women in political leadership is therefore important for national development and it is critical for internal party processes to promote women since it is from these structures that individuals to contest for public office are often selected.

It is imperative that the MDC Congress increase the proportion of women in leadership positions if they are to be taken seriously other than a ‘boys’ club. We therefore challenge the MDC structures to demonstrate the democratic ethos they preach. Democracy is about inclusion and equal representation and this also mean the inclusion and promotion of women to top leadership positions on the same proportion as men. The party cannot talk about democracy, accountability, social justice and inclusivity when women are being side-lined.

Source: Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE)