23 March 2014

Mozambique: When Women Vote Against Women's Rights - the Strange Case of the Mozambican Parliament

Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN
Civil society saw the proposed new article as a “flagrant violations of the rights of women, children and other groups” (file photo).


What is the point of having women make up half of Parliament, if they vote for laws that put girls and women right back into the 19th century? This is happening today in Mozambique.

In April, the country's lawmakers will debate and approve the review of the new Penal Code, provisionally approved in December 2012. The revision is long overdue and welcome: finally, Mozambique is getting rid of the colonial Penal Code in use, which dates from 1886. That makes it 127 years old. By MERCEDES SAYAGUES.

The world has advanced in giant leaps in terms of human rights in the last 127 years. The laws of a young country should reflect these changes. Most stuff in the new, revised version is wise - but, surprisingly, unaccountably, some of the old laws are maintained, laws that severely infringe on the constitutional rights, the human rights and the dignity of Mozambican girls and women.

Consider the facts:

Of the 250 members of Parliament, 98 are women, or 40 percent. Both Frelimo and Renamo, the ruling party and the opposition, have lots of women MPs.

Mozambique ranks 14 among 145 countries in terms of women in Parliament. In Africa, only South Africa ...

Copyright © 2014 Daily Maverick. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.