Zvamaida Murwira
Senior Reporter – The Herald
Cabinet yesterday approved principles to Constitutional amendments aimed at extending the women’s quota that will ensure a 30 percent threshold on local authorities.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet approved principles for amendment to the Constitution yesterday that were presented by Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo.

She said this followed a proposal made by women councillors in Victoria Falls last week during an interactive meeting with President Mnangagwa.

Minister Mutsvangwa said this yesterday, while addressing journalists during a post Cabinet media briefing which is expected to go for six week recess.

“Cabinet considered and approved Principles for the Amendment of the Constitution on Proportional Representation in Local Authorities, which was presented by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works,” she said.

“The proposal is in response to submissions by Women Councillors at Victoria Falls, which His Excellency the President undertook to bring to Cabinet. The principles seek to extend the progressive Constitutional provisions on gender equality to local Government structures.

“In particular, the systems of proportional representation for the election of candidates to Parliamentary seats will be extended to local authorities. The principles will facilitate increased women and minority parties representation in lower tiers of governance, thereby bringing stability and balance in decision-making as power-sharing becomes more visible at the grassroots level.

“Another key highlight is that Cabinet approved the principle to provide for a 30 percent quota for women in all local  authorities.”

Responding to questions, Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said the amendments would propose a two-term cap as is the case with National Assembly Proportional Representation and assess if intended objectives would have been achieved. He said it was not prudent to leave women empowerment thrust to political parties since they would be pre-occupied with selecting their best candidates, notwithstanding whether they were men or women.

“We need legislation to give effect to this policy direction,” said Minister Ziyambi.

Meanwhile, there was a brief function to celebrate the end of the Post Cabinet sessions for this year as Cabinet will be going on a six week recess.

Minister Mutsvangwa chronicled achievements registered by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa in terms of infrastructural development and media reforms.

Some of the infrastructure projects included the Beitbridge-Harare and Harare-Chirundu highways rehabilitation, which Cabinet was told was going on its second phase after the five companies contracted completed their first phase of 20 kilometres apiece.