Constitutional and Legal Rights Theme Cluster

Constitutional and Legal Rights Theme Cluster

Date: December 14, 2011
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A 20-memberexperts committee to serve as advisors to the review process of the Constitution of Zambia has been appointed. The last month has been spent on lobbying the government to include women from the women’s movement. Members of the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance even went to State House unannounced but failed to meet the President. They met his Private Secretary who assured them that he would he would secure an appointment for them to meet the President. The Alliance Zambia network wrote a letter to the Minister of Justice with some names proposed but he just responded that no more people could be added as the appointments had been made by the President.

In the meantime, the cluster has made several proposals to development partners to seek support to start the process of producing a model gender sensitive Constitution to be used for lobbying the three countries having Constitutional review processes, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

The Constitutional and legal rights cluster will continue to monitor developments in the sector in these countries and intensify lobbying and advocacy around gender related provisions in 2012.

For example, the Constitution in Zambia doesnot provide for affirmative action in political decision-making processes and as a result very few women were elected into parliament and equally few nominated into cabinet after the recent elections. During a meeting with the NGOCoordinating Council, the gender umbrella body in Zambia, participants underscored the need for a gender sensitive Constitution in order to facilitate getting more women in decision making positions as recommended by the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

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