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WCOZ’s open letter to the president

It is critical that as the new president, His Excellency Emmerson Mnangwaga ushers in a new dispensation, he factors in women — their concerns, rights and aspirations.

By Maggie Mzumara

Following the Women’s Convention held in Harare on November 23, the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WCOZ) has demonstrated leadership and taken the initiative to write a letter to the president capturing priority women’s rights issues that need Mnangagwa’s attention.

Below is the letter in full.

Re: Request for prioritisation of women’s rights in Zimbabwe’s agenda for renewal WCOZ, representing non-partisan women’s rights organisations and activists in all provinces of Zimbabwe, wishes to join the rest of Zimbabwe in congratulating you on assumption of the presidency of Zimbabwe. We further acknowledge and take cognisance of the far-reaching and inspiring commitments you made in your speech during your inauguration.

We identify, Your Excellency, with the many issues that you raised in your speech regarding the need for Zimbabwe’s renewal in all socio-economic sectors to position our country in readiness for economic growth, employment creation, equity, freedom and democracy and for the provision of vital social goods, principally health, shelter, clean water, education and other key social services.

Having convened a Women’s Convention on November 23, 2017 to build consensus on women’s aspirations for a better Zimbabwe and contributing to the outcome of the Women’s Convention into the national People’s Convention, women deliberated and expressed key concerns that we urgently ask you to consider, as outlined below:

• Reduction and rationalisation of state departments and government ministries, whose resourcing detracts from support to sectors and issues that require financing to reverse the disproportionate impact they have on the realisation of women’s rights.

• Appointing a gender-balanced executive. In exercising your powers to appoint, we urge you to adhere to the constitutional requirement as espoused in section 104 (4) regarding gender balance, as read with Section 17. Whilst ensuring equal representation, we urge you to further consider the appointment of women in the portfolios of Health, Finance, Education, Foreign Affairs and Defence, to which men have been perennially appointed.

• Transformation in the register-general’s office and the services it provides to women.

• Full domestication of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, underpinned by women’s rights.

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