Mazowe South legislator and former Deputy Minister of Justice, Fortune Chasi has urged Zimbabweans to consider the quality and not quantity of women to vote into high offices saying the narrative should not be about pushing numbers.
By Farai Shawn Matiashe
Chasi made the remarks at a recent election debate, facilitated by Women in Politics: Support Network (WiPSU) in Harare.
“When it comes to politics we must not talk of the numbers but we must look at the quality,” he said.
Chasi’s remarks comes at a time when women activists and feminists groups have been calling for more women to get into parliament and some to be given opportunities to hold high offices in government.
He said empowerment of women should start with empowering them with education at youth stage.
“Elevation of women is supposed to start by empowering the girl child through education. In most cases, considering rural areas, there are only primary schools and after finishing primary level a girl child may not continue because a high school may be a distant away. In such case it is not surprising to see that girl child getting married,” Chasi said.
He added that Zimbabweans should start by fighting patriarchy if they are to create an environment safe for women to participate in politics.
“Women played a very important role during the liberation struggle and they are still playing a very important role today. Bias towards women is not only in politics but in society, so, there is need of creating a society that respects women,” he said.
Speaking at the same event MDC-T member, Sesel Zvidzai said 50/50 in terms of gender requires Zimbabweans to have an agreement that guarantees space for women.
“Does the citizens believe in 50/50 gender policy? There has to be a legislation which can be introduced into our electoral systems to guarantee 50/50 gender equality.
“In South Africa they have a higher percentage of women in parliament because they use a proportional representation policy. In Zimbabwe with the first past the post system we use it is very difficult to have 50/50 gender in parliament. Look at senators there is more representation of women because there is a legislation already in place to ensure some seats are reserved for them,” he said.