‘Paltry gender commission budget hampers research’

THE Zimbabwe Gender Commission’s (ZGC) paltry $2 million 2019 budgetary allocation against a bid of $3,8 million will hamper efforts to do research on gender violations, especially on women, chairperson of the Women and Youth Parliamentary Portfolio Committee Chido Madiwa has said.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

In a post-budget analysis report for 2019, which was presented in the National Assembly recently, Madiwa said ZGC had been underfunded since last year and was unable to procure any meaningful assets as a result.

“The ZGC’s budget allocation was $2 million against a bid of $2,8 million, and the line item on research and knowledge management into issues related to gender justice has the greatest variance of -104%, followed by investigations of possible violations of rights (80%),” she said.

“The huge variances on budgetary allocations will have a negative impact on the commission’s ability to deliver its constitutional mandate.”

ZGC was allocated only $150 000 on capital assets, meaning the commission will be unable to procure any assets or be financially equipped to fully deliver on its mandate in 2019.

“The committee felt that this amount was grossly inadequate, given the task at hand. We, therefore, as a committee, recommend that this amount be urgently reviewed upwards so that all cases of human rights violations related to gender are investigated,” she said.

Madiwa said the ZGC was severely underfunded in terms of research and management after submitting a bid for $200 000, but they got less than half the requested amount.

“Research is essential for effective execution of the commission’s mandate, and as a committee, we recommend an upward review of their budget,” she said.

ZGC was established to monitor issues concerning gender equality, investigate possible violations of rights relating to gender, receive complaints and conduct research into issues relating to gender and social justice, as well as recommend changes to laws and practices which lead to discrimination based on gender, among other obligations.

The 2019 National Budget has already been passed by the National Assembly and awaits passage through Senate. Madiwa also said the Women Affairs ministry was severely underfunded, with only $44 million allocated it when they needed $64 million.

“The $44 million will now be shared among programmes such as policy and administration, women empowerment, gender and community development and small and medium enterprise and co-operative development,” she said.