Saturday, April 21, 2018

First Lady engages female lawyers

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Female lawyers pose for a photograph with First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa during their meeting at State House in Harare yesterday. - (Picture by John Manzongo)
Paidamoyo Chipunza Senior Reporter
Female lawyers and the Office of the First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa have set up a 10-member technical committee that is expected to look at various legal issues affecting women, including coming up with solutions that are in line with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The 2030 Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets that were approved by Heads of State and Government at a special UN summit in 2015.
Addressing women lawyers from the private sector, Government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at a breakfast meeting at State House yesterday, the First Lady said women were still short-changed despite being indus- trious.
She said her office was often inundated with distress calls from women who either wanted to raise a complaint or were desperate for assistance.
“Many people think the First Lady knows it all, they think she has answers to everything, but I cannot do it alone, especially when it comes to this area to do with the law,” said Amai Mnangagwa.
“I want you to highlight, educate and sensitise me on some of the legal issues.”
Women, Amai Mnangagwa said, continued to be victims of gender-based violence, revenge pornography, wilful transmission of HIV, inheritance and property rights.
She commended female lawyers for their hard work.
The lawyers said they were ready to partner the First Lady in representing marginalised women.
An interim technical committee that will work with the Office of the First Lady has already been set up.
The lawyers advised Amai Mnangagwa on the need to create awareness of women’s rights, establish a robust legal aid system and set up a legal desk in her office.
Law Society of Zimbabwe programmes manager Ms Isheanesu Chirisa said the challenges faced by women lawyers were not peculiar to the legal profession.
She said women continued to face sexual harassment and were usually not considered for top positions in their respective professions.
Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) board chairperson Mrs Vimbai Nyemba thanked the First Lady for providing a platform for lawyers to discuss their challenges.
“Amai Mnangagwa is a real sister,” she said. “Sisters pull each other up. The pull her down syndrome is over. When sisters work together shoulder-to-shoulder, they do great things.”