Zimbabwe constitution stifling opposition


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Masawi added, “We elected the leaders of our choice to represent us in Parliament, the recall which was done mysteriously at a critical time when the country was battling with the deadly pandemic coronavirus has severely impacted on our rights as the electorate.”

“We voted for MDC-Alliance MPs led by Nelson Chamisa, not MDC-T led by Thokozani Khupe. It was very clear on the ballot paper and we know whom we voted for. The decision to recall our MPs is not justified. It has severely impacted on women as we strive for equal representation in parliament,” Masawi said.

The constitution decides, the voter does not decide. Madhuku said when it comes to the recall of members of parliament, the constitution decides.

Madhuku said the constitution of Zimbabwe impacted the voting rights of the electorate. “It gives voting rights with one hand and takes them away with another.”

“The constitution gives the electorate rights to vote for individuals as members of parliament. The voter can vote for a particular member of parliament but when in parliament the political party that sponsored the individual into parliament may choose to expel them, when they choose to do that the voter is not taken into account.”

Constitutional provisions, in terms of section 119 on legislative authority, mandates an elected member of parliament to represent the interests and objectives of a particular constituency and the nation in parliament.

Madhuku added: “If you have a right that is given by the constitution, that constitution may also take it away. It is the constitution that is saying and doing all this.”

Recalled proportional representation member of parliament, MDC-Alliance national chairperson Thabitha Khumalo said the recalls of opposition MPs from parliament was the death of democracy in the country, while reversing the gains aimed at equal representation of women in parliament.

Khumalo said: “Most female MPs who were recalled were in parliament through proportional representation, this has eroded our fight to achieve 50-50. They have robbed representation of women in parliament and women’s issues will be difficult to tackle because we have politicians who have taken over but not for the benefit of the livelihoods of Zimbabweans, but are there for the privileges.”

Women organizations that work to promote female leadership in decision making positions say the expulsions of women parliamentarians from the House of Assembly have disenfranchised women and reversed the gains that the country had made in gender equality.

A 2019 World Bank report estimates that women in Zimbabwe constitute 52.3 percent of the total population.

“Minimal representation that has been achieved has actually decreased. We have totally lost out, as women and also as a country,” Batanayi Mapinde, Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (Walpe) programs officer, said.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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