The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: 'Read Draft Constitution'

Minister of Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development Dr Olivia Muchena has urged all women to read the draft constitution for themselves to fully understand the underlying empowerment issues.

She pointed out that the draft constitution was pro-women and would address the imbalances that currently exist on the political landscape:

"Although women constitute 52 percent of the population, they are poorly represented in political decision making. There are 32 women out of 210 members in the House of Assembly, 33 out of 99 senators, and only 18 women local government councillors nationwide."

Dr Muchena urged women to realise that while enabling policies are crucial to gender equity, there is need to separate between trappings of power and real power.

The minister was officially opening the Leadership and Women Political Participation Global Training of Trainers' Institute convened by Women's Learning Partnership with support from Women's Self-Promotion Movement.

The training, which started on Monday, runs until Thursday and is being facilitated by teams from Malaysia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Selected representatives of women's organisations nationwide are being equipped with training skills to ensure that many women are empowered to take up political posts from local government right up to the highest echelons of power.

Executive director of WSPM Mrs Aziza Abemba said her organisation has timed the institute to coincide with the current national developments.

"The country is about to go for an election even if the exact date is not yet set, and as an organisation that concentrates on women's leadership we felt that the 54 percent women need to be heard. This institute is to encourage each other through the horizontal, inclusive and participatory system.

"The hierarchical system one that encourages leaders to be just there for themselves. The HIP system will create women are truly democratic, with all people at heart so as to bring positive results from gender equity in decision-making."

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