Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
GOVERNMENT will soon amend the Constitution to extend the provision which reserves 60 seats for women following the pending expiry of the subsistence of the 10-year legal framework in 2023, President Mnangagwa has said.
Addressing a Zanu-PF Women’s League National Assembly meeting in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said he was in agreement with a proposal from women to have the constitutional provision extended since attainment of the 50:50 had not yet been realised.
He said making such amendments would not be a challenge given that Zanu-PF commanded a two-third majority in Parliament.
“In my meeting earlier on with your leadership, they raised a long standing grievance that of 50:50.
Men also said I should not forget that women came from a man’s rib. I said it is true because that is contained in the Bible, but I said women are 52 percent compared to man’s 48 percent but they are prepared for a compromise of 50:50 percent,” said the President.
“In our constitution as well, we agreed that for 10 years, women enjoy the women’s quota. We thought that in those 10 years we would have achieved 50:50 but we did not, so their request is that the provision be extended. Men have not opposed the proposal.
So we can amend the Constitution to accommodate the concerns of women. As Zanu-PF we have two thirds majority (in Parliament) so it should not be a problem.
But for the 50:50 principle to be implemented in the private sector it is problematic because Government has no equity in those firms.
So we will commence a process to amend the Constitution.”
Turning to corruption, President Mnangagwa slammed the previous Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission led by Mr Job Whabira for being ineffective.
“The Commission that was there led by Whabira had no teeth. If they detected corruption they would look up to other institutions to have the culprit arrested. With respect to this one I gave it the necessary teeth.
The Commission we recently constituted, it has nine commissioners headed by a woman. She is a no nonsense,” said President Mnangagwa.
Responding to a request from the Women’s League to have women candidates represent the party in the forthcoming by-elections, President Mnangagwa said women had not been forthcoming in terms of expressing interest in the said constituencies despite the fact that the constituencies fell vacant following death of other women.
Vacant constituencies include Glen View South in Harare, Lupane East in Matabeleland North province and Mangwe constituency in Matabeleland South province.
Lupane East fell vacant early this year after the death of Cde Sithembile Gumbo (Zanu-PF) while Glen View South was declared vacant when Mrs Vimbai Tsvangirai-Java (MDC Alliance) passed on.
The President commended the Women’s League saying it was the pillar of the revolutionary party.
President Mnangagwa said Government would increase the number of buses in rural areas when he commissions other buses that were imported recently.
Turning to the economy, President Mnangagwa said Government remains committed to have it resuscitated.
“Our economy had fallen in a big way.
For us to return to the global economy we are obliged to make economic reforms and modernise our industry so that we become competitive.
If we want to be competitive in the world economy and even in the regional economy we felt we have to liberalise our economy, and rationalise indigenisation laws, have our own currency.
Even small countries have their currencies.
The austerity measures that we are implementing are meant to take us from a collapsed economy to a functioning economy, we need to have safety nets to cushion our people because incomes had been eroded by the austerity measures which we must walk through,” said the President.
He called for peace and unity among party members.
“It is that philosophy of Zanu-PF that has made me to create a political dialogue. We believe in it.
Not all political parties have come to the table of peace but I am happy that Zanu-PF is at the table of peace,” the President said.
“However despite our doctrine of peace you will still see individuals that are divisive in the party.
We should be alert to such comrades in the party who are divisive.
“We do not chuck them out but we must point out to them that unity gives strength to the party.
Our revolutionary party is so strong that one individual person should not ever think that without him the party will fall,” said President Mnangagwa .
He said Government will support businesses that are aimed at enhancing the lives of people.
“You must always think big, do not think small, plan big. Nothing is impossible, my administration will support you,” the President said.
He said his engagement with development partners in various countries had borne fruit despite criticism from some sections of the media.