WALPE Statement On 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

WALPE Statement on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence


26 November 2018

Women Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence (WALPE) joins the rest of the world and the millions of Zimbabwean women and girls in commemorating 16 days of activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV). This year’s commemorations are being held under the theme: ‘Zero tolerance to sexual harassment in the work place.’ WALPE believes that the work place is broader and hence we extend the scope to include women in the informal sector, home based industries, domestic work and those undertaking unpaid work such as raising children and home based care.

We also note, with serious concern, that the commemorations come at a time when there is a spike in cases of GBV in the public space. In recent months women working as vendors have been attacked and their wares looted by the police in a crackdown that seeks to place aesthetic look of the city ahead of livelihoods. Women and girls have also been victims of violent attacks some of which have been fatal, the recent examples being the multiple murder of women who were using the private taxis.

On 22 November 2018, women leaders in Parliament were attacked by police after they had exercised their freedom of conscience and refused to stand up for President Mnangagwa. The brutal attack by the police which left dozens of women parliamentarians injured reinforces the fact that women are not safe in their work places.

We therefore make the following key demands to the Government of Zimbabwe and its organs:

1. Safety of women
We demand that the Government of Zimbabwe and its security organs ensure safety of women in the public space by providing protection and upholding their rights. It is saddening that the police and other security organs are the biggest perpetrators of GBV in Zimbabwe. This must stop and public security personnel should be trained in human rights so that they have an appreciation of why they are important to protect and uphold in a democratic society.

2. Continuation of the women quota
We also demand the continuation of the women’s quota of 60 seats in Parliament which is constitutionally coming to an end in 2023. For this to happen, we shall work with the women parliamentary caucus to push for this amendment. Further, we will work with women who are elected under this system to enhance their capacity so that they can deliver on their mandate.

3. Equal opportunity and affirmative action
We also call on Parliament and local Authorities to provide equal opportunities for women parliamentarians and Councillors to access resources as much as their male counterparts. This is in relation to ensuring gender balance on international trips and in giving opportunities to speak in parliament. More importantly, parliament should adopt affirmative action policy for women to access specialised trainings and resources so that they deliver on their mandate.

4. Budget ceiling on election campaign
Lack of resources is one of the reasons limiting women’s participation in leadership. As a way to address this challenge, we propose that legislation be introduced to put a ceiling on how much a candidate can spend in a constituency. This will enhance participation of women who are often side lined by rich and powerful man who literary spend million buying votes.

It is our firm belief that if women have access to more power and authority in political office, they can craft and enforce policies and laws to enhance security in the work place. Thus as WALPE we reinstate our commitment to working with women so that they are able to occupy political offices and change the skewed power dynamics which is one of the central causes of GBV.

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