First Lady ups fight for the girl child
“The girl child is faced with a lot of pressures from different sectors of the society, from within the household to the community and society at large. Our girl-children need extra care and support through a listening ear.”
She said only engagement with the girl child would improve the situation.
“The girl child is more vulnerable. Not that we are to discriminate the boy child but special attention needs to be given to the girl child as the most disadvantaged children are girls. I hereby come up with a programme “First Lady and the girl-child” where I would like to meet girls of school going age and have an interface with them in an open environment which allows the girls to open up and share their real life experiences,” added the First Lady. She said the girl child must be empowered. “The focus would be to come up with social and economic solutions for the girl child in order to improve on their assertiveness, attitude to life, education, life skills as well as making informed decisions and being well disciplined. The girl child is part of our nation’s future citizens and we cannot just watch and expect a good future for them when we do not intervene at this point in time,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
She said there was need for a paradigm shift in the manner the nation treats the girl child.
“In order for us to attain a prosperous uppermiddle income economy by 2030, we need to have a paradigm shift in the way we have been doing business. Engagement with the girl child to hear from them and come up with informed interventions is one way to usher our girls to upper middle income economy by 2030. This can be achieved successfully if we work together as a team and brainstorm on this programme,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
She cited early child marriages, teenage pregnancies, HIV and Aids infections and school drop outs as some of the challenges facing the girl child.
“This is resulting in the girl child’s future being jeopardised and in most cases there are few girls who are getting the opportunity to get out of such pits they would have fallen into. It is therefore critical that we engage our girl child from a tender age and dialogue with them on these issues to come up with practical and lasting solutions,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
She urged coordination among stakeholders in the fight for the rights of the girl child.
“I intend to roll out the first activity of engaging girls of school going age. Society needs to accept that the challenges the girl child is facing need a joint effort of various stakeholders. Together as a team we can make great impact in addressing the challenges being faced by our girls. I am starting the first interface meeting with the girls here in Harare next month. The objective is to raise awareness on the need for the society to see the value of the girl child,” she said.
“This activity marks the beginning of a series of interfaces that would be held countrywide to ensure that all the girls across the country are reached.”
Organisations which attended the meeting pledged support.
African Union Ambassador for ending early child marriages Mrs Nyaradzai Gumbonzvanda said the First Lady had set the tone for 2019 in fighting early marriages.
“You have set the tone for 2019 for our intentions, for prioritisation of resources and for implementation of policies,” she said.
Mrs Gumbonzvanda said she was a product of early marriage and urged authorities to stop it.
Principal director in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Ms Kwadzanai Nyanungo thanked the First Lady for the initiative.
Representative for the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, Mrs Martha Muguti, said her ministry was committed to addressing challenges facing the girl child.
The challenge include shortage of accommodation for girls at tertiary institutions.
“Let us start by addressing these issues from a family set up. Girls are not born to be married. Parents and guardians must stop commercialising marriage,” she said.
Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development acting secretary Air Commodore Ivan Dumba said his ministry would work towards operationalising the national action plan to end child marriages. The action plan was launched last month. It seeks to intensify efforts towards ending early child marriages. FINANCE and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube has increased Parliament’s budget by 80 percent after MPs from across the political divide were united in demanding an increase.
The Parliament of Zimbabwe had initially been allocated US$101 million in the 2019 budget, but following MPs demands the figure was raised to $145 million, from last year’s $80 million, an 81 percent increase.
The legislators put up a united front as they made demands during the recent budget debate in the National Assembly leading to the increase in their allocation.
Prof Ncube initially increased the budget allocation to $120 million from $101 but the legislators would have none of it.
“I want to report back to honourable members and I hope they will be pleased that we have caucused and reflected on the Vote for Parliament. Therefore, I propose that the increase from this year’s budget of US$80million be 50 percent , that means that the budget for Parliament for 2019 is now at US$120m, there is an extra of US$19 million on the initial proposal of US$101 million which will also cater for the constituency information centres,” said Prof Ncube,
However the legislators seemed not satisfied with the new budget allocation and demanded more.
MDC-Alliance Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda, said Parliament should be allocated nothing less than $163 million.
Mutare Central MP (MDC Alliance) Mr Innocent Gonese said it was high time Parliament stood on its own rather than depend on the benevolence of development partners.
Chegutu West legislator (Zanu PF) Cde Dexter Nduna suggested that MPs get money instead of coupons as they undergo dehumanising conditions when collecting them.
“We have about 270 Members of Parliament here. This is 210 elected and 60 proportional representatives and every Thursday, they go under dehumanising conditions where they have to get coupons and they go into a queue where an accountant distributes those coupons in a manual way.
My suggestion is that, let that money go into our accounts and make sure that we do not leave anything to chance and make sure that Members of Parliament do not go under dehumanising conditions,” said Cde Nduna.
Finance Minister, Prof Ncube acceded to the demands by increasing the budget to $145 million.
“First of all let me thank the honourable members for their spirited and rightly spirited contributions about the role of Parliament; its oversight role and their resource needs. After caucusing and reflecting with my staff who help me manage the budget, I now propose to increase the Vote for Parliament up to $145 million,” said Prof Ncube.
The legislators have also demanded an increase in their allowances, saying they play an important role in the running of the country.
The members of the House of Assembly have demanded that they be served three full-course meals a day, plus dessert while attending Parliament.
They also want Parliament to provide gym facilities or to pay membership and subscription fees for them at sports clubs for recreational purposes.
The 2019 National budget sailed through with minor changes to budget allocations for most Ministries and now awaits accent by Senate. — @ AuxiliaK