The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has clarified that it is not the mandate of the electoral body to ensure political parties change their party constitutions to guarantee the inclusion of the 50/50 gender parity clause.

The gender quota system which is enshrined in the new constitution was expected to move the Parliament of Zimbabwe towards achieving a 50/50 representation.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development this week invited ZEC officials to appear before the committee and explain measures the electoral body will adopt to warrant half of the 210 seats in the national assembly are occupied by women.

ZEC chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau and ZEC commissioner, Mrs Joyce Kazembe explained that ZEC cannot compel political parties to fill in women candidates for the national assembly as they have no  mandate to do so.

The women legislators were reminded that parliament has the power to pass electoral laws that can overturn longstanding gender inequalities.

Currently the country’s parliament has 125 female MP’s which translate to 34 percent of the total number of legislators and this was attained courtesy of the proportional representation quota.