Zimbabwe: Mnangagwa Sued Over Gender 'Insensitive' Appointments

President Emmerson Mnangagwa (file photo).
8 September 2020

Women representative groups have approached the High Court seeking leave to sue President Emmerson Mnangagwa for making cabinet appointments that are not gender-sensitive.

The groups are the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWALA), and the Women's Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE).

Cited as respondents are; Mnangagwa, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi and Attorney General Prince Machaya.

The applicants accuse Mnangagwa of failing to respect the country's Constitution.

"The first respondent is required to uphold, defend, and respect this Constitution as the supreme law of the nation and must ensure that this Constitution and all the other laws are faithfully observed. He is further required to be guided by considerations of regional and gender balance in appointing ministers and their deputies," ZWLA director Abigail Mutsvayi said.

The court heard since that November last year, Mnangagwa had either reshuffled his cabinet or appointed ministers on at least four occasions.

ZWLA submitted that on November 8 last year, Mnangagwa appointed five female and eight male ministers and five women and 13 men as deputy ministers.

This ZWLA argued constituted 21% and 28% of women appointed as ministers or deputies, respectively.

It also noted how Mnangagwa after firing health minister Obadiah Moyo over corruption charges, the President replaced him with a male candidate and Zimbabwe's Vice President Constantino Chiwenga.

They also cited the replacement of the late Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri with another man, Anxious Masuka while after Energy Minister Fortune Chasi was fired last month, Mnangagwa replaced him with Soda Zhemu, a male candidate.

"It is of great public importance that this court ensures that the first respondent fulfils his functions in a constitutional manner. He must follow the supreme law. The Constitution should transform our legal system and society," the High Court application reads.

The matter is yet to be heard.

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