The Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) boldly repudiate the impetuous announcement of the Public Hearings dates (15-19 June 2020) on the proposed Constitutional Amendment Bill no.2 by the Parliament of Zimbabwe.
The announcement came at a time when the country is under a Covid-19 induced lockdown and the Parliament of Zimbabwe should call off the hearings for now so as not to expose citizens to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Government put in place a ban on social gatherings of more than 50 people in order to curb the spread of the virus. What criteria is going to be used to choose the 50 people that are going to attend the public hearings? who will ensure women and youth are equally represented? Overall, this number limits the participation of many Zimbabwean citizens who want to take part in the consultation process.
With the Covid-19 movement regulations, it is no doubt that women are not going to be fully represented and their voices will not be heard at the hearings. The prerequisite of producing a letter from employer adds to the restriction on movement of women who are largely not in possession of the document since they are mostly in the informal sector. Hence the public hearings should be called off until the environment is conducive. The Government should also explain why they are putting people’s lives in danger by rushing to conduct the public hearings under such circumstances.
WALPE on behalf of aspiring women leaders in Zimbabwe reiterate its position on the amendment that no to the extension of the women’s parliamentary quota system as it falls short to the achievement of gender equality as espoused by section 17, 56 and 80 of the constitution. The Government must fully implement the 2013 constitution first before any talk of amendments.
WALPE is worried and concerned over the continuous victimisation and persecution of Hon Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova by the State. The three women leaders are victims of state sponsored abductions, torture, sexual abuse and arbitrary arrests. They were re-arrested on 10 June 2020 and charged with faking their abduction. Instead of the police arresting the perpetrators of such horrendous human rights violations against women human rights defenders and activists, they are busy victimising the already traumatised women. We appeal to the Government to respect women’s fundamental human rights and stop persecuting and punishing the trio for choosing to pursue politics. We further call on the Government to implement the recommendations made by the United Nations (UN) in their statement regarding the abuse of the women leaders and also allow the international human rights organisation to visit Zimbabwe and institute an independent inquiry into the gross human rights violations against the three women leaders.
Source: Women Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE)