The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe, (WCoZ), representing over 100 non-governmental organisations that advance and promote women and girls’ rights acknowledges the process towards establishment of the Gender Commission to advance gender equality and equity in the current Constitution dispensation.
In this context, we note the appointment of members to the Gender Commission as announced on the 30th of June 2015. While we commit to working closely with them as a stakeholder, we note with some concern some issues in the framework that will guide their work, namely the Gender Commission Bill HB 2014.
As we applaud the report on the Bill tabled by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Gender based on public hearings, we note the various concerns raised by the members of the public concerning the independence of the commission, the scope of its work and accountability. It is our hope that the Bill will be amended to appropriately reflect concerns raised to guarantee
The Gender Commission is conceptualised in the Constitution as a key public institution to uphold democracy with a constitutional mandate to address gendered inequalities in Zimbabwe. However,the Gender Commission Bill, HB 2014, fails to support the enactment of a law that ensures the Commission is an independent institution and in content, fails to provide the commission with
sufficient scope to address systemic gender inequalities in Zimbabwe.
The WCoZ counts on the Parliament of Zimbabwe’s statutory obligation to uphold the Constitution by ensuring the Bill is revised to address deficiencies and therefore we call upon them to:
1. Amend the Gender Commission Bill so that it upholds the democratic tenets reflected by
the Constitution of Zimbabwe;
2. Ensure that an independent constitutional Commission is created in line with the letter and
spirit of the constitution; and
3. Ensure the incorporation of the views expressed during the Public Hearings that Parliament
conducted on the Bill from 27 April to 4 May 2015 across the country.
In keeping with the letter and spirit of sections 119, 141 and 235 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe in particular, your petitioners recommend that:
1. There is plurality provided for by law in the membership of the Commission under Clause 3;
2. The investigative functions of the Commission as provided for in Clause 4 be broadened in
keeping with the Paris Principles; and
3. The independence of the Commission be guaranteed by the Bill, by ensuring that it is not
accountable to a Minister but to Parliament.