Govt quota system mere populism

THE quota system for women in government leadership structures appears noble to most unsuspecting people. But, unfortunately, I view it as one of the most uninformed and retrogressive agendas this country has ever been dragged into formulating. One of the reasons advanced by those advocating for this primitive agenda, which may be viewed as quite persuasive, is that women have been, for a long time, marginalised on matters of governance.

 

Of course, the endeavour in seeking to correct the glaring anomalies sounds plausible, especially to those who are driven by the passion to see the urgent reversal of the medieval injustices perpetrated against the fairer sex. However, the mechanically advocated 50-50 approach in leadership representation is poised to produce unintended consequences, based on the following observations.

 

l The elective choices of parliamentarians are commandeered to be gender-sensitive. Yet this can be self-defeating, since the imbedded paternalistic culture reigns supreme, as observed in the strong support base that male political leaders get from the majority of women who, obviously, appear to be generally aware of their inadequacies in leadership functions.

However, it may not be a hidden secret that part of the lacklustre representation in parliament points to women who are in the House of Assembly, not for purposes of brilliant progressive contributions, but for window dressing, to ensure that the legislative assembly is viewed as accommodative of women in the august house. True, there have been a handful of women in parliament whose contributions are of note, but the majority of them seem to be scrupulously taking the cynical advice that says: “People will not know that you are a fool as long as you keep your mouth shut.”  To me, all this points to there being women in parliament, for reasons other than for purposes of quality contributions.

The rampant domestic violence and divorces that appear to be on the upsurge may generally be caused by this fifty-fifty approach, whose advocates seem to enjoy its propagation without taking stock of how much damage is left behind in the process of its implementation. Women’s emotions are whipped up in order for them to become conscious of the perceived inequalities, yet at the same time the same women are being exposed to more intricate challenges of failed marriages, whose origins point to such sought after equal status with their men. It seems the advocates of women’s emancipation are generally good at whipping up the emotions of the negatively affected people, without also giving any clue in ridding us of such deep rooted abuses.

These are but just snippets of the disadvantages associated with the mechanical attempts to address the gender asymmetries in our society. My humble submission here, seeks to encourage the more informed to take responsibility in influencing what should be best methods in handling such issues. The 50-50 mechanical approach can never be right, as shown above.

The display of poor quality parliamentary debates, exacerbated by window-dressing gender sensitivity, is not an assurance for any hope for progressive parliamentary motions to eradicate marital dissonances. I am quite certain that even the outcome of the draft constitution is questionable, considering that it was actually women who were seen clamouring for the Kariba Draft constitution whose contents most of them never even bothered to verify, as long as it was advocated by the male leaders who they felt had a right to abuse them.

Andrew Masuku,
Harare.