Harare Post Staffer
Today, President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is on his second day here in Victoria Falls met and addressed female councillors, the first ever such meeting between a Zimbabwean sitting Head of State and women councilors.
Speaking to the delegates, the President bemoaned the reduction in number of women councillors and said the trend was worrying.
“Recognizing the past, the post-electoral system has unfortunately led to less women in Parliament and within Local Authorities, my Government stands ready to consider other options and proposals that will see the inclusion of more women in decision making bodies.
“It is, however, disheartening that there has been a reduction in the number of women councilors over the recent years. Deliberate efforts must be made to reverse this worrying trend,” said the President.
The President hailed female councillors for hosting the first ever Women Councillors Indaba and said in future the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Settlements and the Minister of Mines and Mining Development should grace such occasions so that they can unpack and explain economic policies that propel the development and improved standards of living for Zimbabweans.
President Mnangagwa told the delegates that the New Dispensation was about action and prioritizes issues that put bread and butter on the tables of Zimbabweans.
He further said that there was need to widen the democratic space to allow women to participate in decision making process.
“The need to widen democratic space and increase the participation of women in decision making processes cannot be over emphasized. In doing so, it is important for Women Forums to develop and implement concrete strategies for the realization of these objectives,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa told the delegates that women had the greatest potential to close all loopholes to the deleterious corruption threat by being the guarantors of responsive, transparent and accountable public sector systems.
He further implored the media to promote a positive perception of the potential and achievements of women in leadership.
President Mnangagwa reminded the councillors that the new development epoch entails that the local authorities become the epicenter of the development.
The President said that the women leaders had the duty and obligation to improve the quality of life of the people in communities.
The President further told the delegates that Government was working on a raft of measures to support local authorities.
“Government is working on a raft of measures to support local authorities and in the 2021 National Budget, a total of ZWL$19. 5 billion has been allocated for devolution. These funds must translate into the speedy development of social and economic infrastructure in all our communities,” said the President.
During the same Forum, the female councillors submitted their concerns to the President.
The councillors told the President that their key concern was the underrepresentation of women in Local Government in Zimbabwe, despite the Constitutional provisions under Section 17 on gender balance.
The Forum was attended by Minister of Local Government and Public Works, July Moyo, Matabeleland North Minister of State and Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Richard Moyo, Victoria Falls Mayo, Somvelo Dlamini, and leader of the opposition in Parliament Thokozani Khupe among other officials.