Source: All Africa
Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has said women should reject the new constitution if it does not have provision for 50 percent representation for women in Parliament.

She said this at the 10th anniversary of 50-50 relaunch campaign in Harare last week.

"We (women) should reject the new constitution if it does not have a 50 percent representation of women in Parliament, and we are going to mobilise women cross the country to go out and demand this from Government.

"We want the game plan to begin at party level and the constitution making process is a great opportunity where we can demand 50 percent women representation made mandatory in all political parties before they even ran for elections", said DPM Khupe. She said she wanted to see women in "leadership roles at the national level, at the district level, community levels and standing out in your communities".

Director of Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU) Ms Fanny Chirisa said, " I think political parties are not taking the 50/50 quota system seriously."

Ms Chirisa said this while referring to the 18 percent women representation in Parliament, which falls far below the 50/50, demanded by the African Union (AU) Gender protocol by 2015.

WIPSU and Gender Links (both NGOs) are lobbying the government to domesticate the AU Gender protocol and want to capitalise on the Sadc head of state summit in Luanda on 17 August 2011.

DPM Khupe said politics should be made safe for women participants, while referring to the violence and rape that characterises the political arena in Zimbabwe. DPM Khupe also alluded to the success in Liberia where President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has given women key posts such as finance, security, and home affairs "because women are more trustworthy and they are not corrupt as their male counterparts".

Women make up 52 percent of the population but only have 32 women representatives out of 210 seats in Parliament
On her health she said: "I am not shy to say I have cancer, everyone can see my bald head and remark about this or that but I am fighting this disease, and with your prayers and support I will get well." 

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