The President of the National Assembly called to materialize his commitment to make parity effective

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Kinshasa, April 15th, 2022(CPA)-  Pro-women’s rights structures, through a motion read Thursday in front of the seat of parliament, urged the President of the Assembly, Christophe Mboso, to materialize his commitment to make effective provisions constitutional provisions relating to gender parity enshrined in the Constitution.

These pro-women’s rights structures, including the National Dynamics of Women Candidates of the DRC (DYNAFEC), Generation Equality, Afia Mama, Nothing Without Women (RSLF) and the Network of African Women Leaders (AWLN) from Civil Society, recall to the speaker of the lower house of parliament that at the opening of the present session, he had reassured: « May the Congolese woman whom we celebrate during the month of March be reassured of the support of the national representation in her fight for the effective implementation of the constitutional provisions relating to gender parity”.

They believe that the time has come to mobilize together and advocate at all levels, particularly in the National Assembly which will examine, next Wednesday, the bill amending the current electoral law. The fight, they underline, is to adapt the electoral law to parity as provided for in article 14 of the Constitution.

Many lobbying actions have already been carried out  

As a reminder, the 2006 Electoral Law, as amended in 2011, 2015 and 2017, is one of the elements that block the participation of Congolese women in political life, according to UN Women, UCOFEM and other pro- women’s rights in the DRC.

In 2015, the movement « Rien Sans les Femmes » (RSLF) had collected more than 200,000 signatures in a petition to demand the addition of a clause stipulating that « in a district with more than two seats, one third of the candidates appearing on a list should be of the opposite sex ». Unfortunately, the legislators ignored the petition and the clause remained unchanged and there is still no legal framework making this principle binding. In 2017, the word “parity” was removed by lawmakers.

For them, “a representation of women” seems sufficient. Article 13 of the amended Electoral Law now stipulates that the non-representation of women does not constitute a reason for inadmissibility of a list. NGOs have not let their guard down. In 2020, the National Dynamics of Women Candidates of the DRC also embarked on this fight for the modification of Article 13 of the Electoral Law. On March 26th, 2022, the NGO « Journalist for Human Rights » (JDH/DRC) organized a round table during which many contributions were made.

« For a more equitable electoral law and better representation of women in decision-making bodies for the next elections in the DRC », such was the theme of this meeting which gave birth to a dozen recommendations. These structures asked the two chambers of parliament “to pass an electoral law that promotes the electoral participation of women in elective positions in the DRC, by declaring inadmissible any electoral list that does not take into account the gender balance.

They request that parliament explicitly expresses the gender dimension in the law, and defines in figures the percentage of women’s enrollment in the electoral process.