african women leaders.jpgWomen in local government say the proportional representation espoused by the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development of 2008 in political governance is achievable if political parties reserve seats for female candidates in any election.

While women constitute 52% of the population, political representation stands at only 22,2%.

With Zimbabwe being a signatory to various international and regional conventions on women empowerment, women councilors say political parties in Zimbabwe should consider the proportional representation to ensure the effective participation of women in governance issues.

Councilor Wendy Chiriri of Ward 23 in Chitungwiza and Councilor Nyemudzai Murikitira of Ward 5 in Norton agreed that women make good leaders especially in local authorities as they bear the brunt of poor service delivery.

“Women make good leaders and we have since realised that in local authorities most women make good decisions that affect service delivery why because they are affected most when local authorities are not performing,” they said.

Councilor Lucy Hlatswayo of Matobo Ward 25 and Councilor Sungano Mutakano of Ward 30 in Masvingo said through capacity building workshops, women can emerge as a force to reckon with on the political front.

They said: “We have achieved a lot because we have a female vice president but more can be done through these capacity building programmes.”

Women in Politics Support Programmes Officer, Ms Thando Makubaza, noted that the participation of women in politics makes a qualitative difference in governance issues.

“We are supporting women because the cross pollination of ideas in political issues brings out good decisions,” she said.

The push to have more women in the local governments sector follows the realisation that women account for only 16% of the elected councilors.

Among the current women councilors none has been elected mayor.