By Lungile Moyo
YOUNG male politicians alledge that the idea of a quota system for women in political circles may not benefit women in the long run but instead open them up to more and even worse abuse.
Speaking during a political empowerment meeting organised by the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) last week, the acting spokesperson for Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) Njabulo Ngwenya said instead of being empowered, many women were instead exposed to violence and abused verbally, emotionally and sexually through quota system methods.
“We believe that this quota system is actually perpetuating the perception that women are inferior and not capable. That they are lower than men as they have to be given seats in parliament without working for them”, said Ngwenya.
Ngwenya said the issue of quota systems reveals an inferiority complex about women that supposes they are incapable. This he said was the reason why they are abused verbally and sexually in political and economic circles.
“In as much as woman are said to be empowered through quota systems they are also abused. What the society doesn’t realise is that they are pinning an inferiority connotation on women. What we should be doing is to actually range the capacity of women having deliberate programs in our own organisations, institutions and political parties to range their competitiveness”, said Mr Ngwenya.
“There is a stereotype in our society that women are not as competitive as men therefore by giving women positions for free we will portray women as uncompetitive and prone them to more abuse, criticism and mockery” he added.
He also added that women who have been privileged to join politics through quotas have not been respected fully like male figures as they are viewed as joining through politics through short cuts.
This comes barely a week after Joseph Chinotimba a ZANU PF MP for Buhera South called a female member of Parliament for the MDC Alliance, Thabitha Khumalo a prostitute in the house of assembly. While Chinotimba later apologised, his behaviour is not isolated in reflecting the manner in which women politicians are treated even in spaces where respect and the law must protect them. No form of punishment is known to exist for gender based violence within the house of parliament. House Speaker, Mr Joseph Mudenda has reportedly since launched investigations into claims made by female law makers that they are often harassed in the course of their duties without any reprieve.
Quotas have over the years been seen and used as an effective way to significantly increase women's representation in politics through the reservation of seats to be specifically occupied by them.