The European Union (EU) has come up with a €20 million initiative for the fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and enhance the promotion of women’s rights in Zimbabwe.
This emerged on Monday when EU Ambassador Timo Olkkonen paid a courtesy call on Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda.
Ambassador Olkkonen said the EU had come up with this new initiative to fight gender-based violence and Parliament was expected to be one of the beneficiaries and implementing partners.
“We value the role of the Speaker of Parliament as the champion on women’s rights and gender issues. We discussed an upcoming initiative to be financed by the EU and implemented by the United Nations called ‘Spotlight’ , which is an important programme against GBV.
“There will be a new initiative, more than 20 million euros coming to Zimbabwe to tackle this important issue. It’s a comprehensive programme, and also Parliament will be one of the beneficiaries and partners in implementing this,” he said.
Ambassador Olkkonen said the parties also discussed women representation in Parliament which is low and said he had gathered that Parliament was addressing the issue.
“We discussed some of the issues regarding the status of women in Zimbabwe and about women’s representation in Parliament which is low following the 2018 elections. Parliament is addressing those by taking this motion of constitutional guarantee about quota of women in Parliament, that it will be prolonged. We need that kind of affirmative action. This is a positive move,” he said.
The EU ambassador congratulated Parliament on the ratification of the Africa Charter on Democracy, which he said was a good development.
“We also discussed the electoral reform agenda,” he said.
Also under discussion were the recommendations of the EU observer mission and promotion of legislative agenda.
“We were discussing the support the European Union is rendering to the Parliament in promoting legislation agenda. EU has been one of the contributors to Parliament’s work in financial terms, particularly on the constitutional alignment agenda.
“We discussed the constitutional alignment and the plans of how the Parliament takes forward following Government’s various initiatives. We are happy to note that there is now movement on the legislative agenda of addressing a number of secondary legislation initiatives aimed at aligning these laws with the 2013 Constitution.
“We are happy to see this progress because it’s indeed 2013, it’s a long time since the Constitution was enacted and now we have seen movement in a number of important legislation. The successor to the POSA, where we raised some of the issues that we noted, some of the criticism coming from the public on the Bill and Parliament seem to be very aware of all these issues,” he said.
They also discussed the role of Parliament as an institution practising oversight on the executive and particularly on expenditure of taxpayer’s money where Advocate Mudenda highlighted how the Parliament was enhancing its role in looking after public funds.
“We had a positive discussion on that topic. We were discussing issues of human rights and issues that Parliament had noted that EU had concerns on. We were referring to the implementation of the Motlanthe Commission and recommendations and also addressing impunity in human rights violations,” he said.