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The Issues



What is notable is that the new Constitution has not only abolished the death penalty for women but prohibits the execution of women whose sentences of death had not been carried out prior to 22 May 2013 and requires that they be sentenced afresh by competent Courts. The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) which we has applied to the Constitutional Court pleading for it to declare that it is no longer constitutional for any woman to be on death roll and pleading with the Constitutional Court to direct the re-sentencing of any such women on death roll. ZWLA has also asked the Constitutional Court to issue a declaratur to the effect that all laws that allow for the imposition of the death penalty on women are invalid to the extent of their inconsistency with section 48(2) (d) of the Constitution.




What we hope for:


 We hope that after the case is heard in Court today, the government will take immediate action to regularise the situation of the only woman of death roll to prevent her from further anguish and trauma.  We also hope that when the woman is resentenced she will not be kept under solitary confinement as we believe that solitary confinement is tantamount to torture. We call upon the public to speak out against the legalized cruelty that the death penalty is. We also continue to encourage the judiciary to shun meting out the death penalty and to consider rehabilitative and punitive justice measures, which benefit not only the perpetrator but society at large. Further we call upon the government to adopt the necessary legislative and administrative measures to abolish the death penalty and also immediately regularise the status of woman already on death roll and commute her sentence. Finally, we implore the government to urgently align all relevant laws with the new Constitution.


Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association joins the world in commemorating the World Day Against the Death Penalty.


This is the 12th annual commemoration globally, since the launch of the 1st commemorations by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty on 10 October 2003. 10 October is globally a date to advocate for the total abolition of the death penalty. The movement continues to gain strength, ground and legitimacy.

On 14 October, ZWLA, together with the NGO Forum, Amnesty International Zimbabwe and Padare will have a media briefing on the death penalty, constitutional provisions and what we are doing to protect the right to life.












             Dates : 13 and 14 November 2014












The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association (ZWLA) is an association of lawyers whose  mission is not only defending, developing and dialoguing on women rights in Zimbabwe, but to represent women lawyers as a constituency, to dialogue on their issues and to defend their causes.




21 years ago women lawyers agreed that ZWLA would defend their professional interest. However, they noted that defending, dialoguing and developing on the plight of Zimbabwean women lawyers could not be ZWLA’s end goal. ZWLA’s end goal would be a just and equitable society. To ensure that ZWLA’s goal is achieved, women lawyers agreed to go beyond addressing the plight of women lawyers to also ensuring that they contribute to addressing the plights of women in Zimbabwe through the provision of free legal aid, advocacy work, lobbying for law reform and defending the rights of Zimbabwean women.




It is within the above context that the International Commission of Jurists which shares the same vision with ZWLA, partnered with ZWLA to hold a yearly Women Lawyers Conference which has two goals, to dialogue, defend and develop on women lawyer’s issues, and to dialogue, defend and develop on women rights in Zimbabwe.







1.     Objective 1: Dialogue, defend and develop on women lawyer’s issues.




Zimbabwean women lawyers especially young lawyers have expressed concerns over a variety of issues ranging from their inability to penetrate certain spaces within the law profession due to various reasons yet to be explored, to the absence of proper mentoring from senior lawyers and the absence of opportunities to develop professionally. The conference seeks to provide a platform which will bring Zimbabwean lawyers from all over the world and all over the country to dialogue on issues which affect them with the view to provide a lasting solution to their concerns.




Tapping from the knowledge of leading experts, women lawyers will discuss various issues inclusive of but not limited to the following




a.     Learning how to climb the legal ladder to the next career level.




b.     Knowing the challenges, identifying opportunities and having a personal law career plan.




c.     The importance of a mentor.




d.     A winning personality.




e.     How to create a sphere of influence: Understanding power.




f.      Understanding corporate governance.




g.     Navigating different legal careers i.e how to be a judge, academic or politician.




h.     How to start a law firm and sustain the dream.




2.     Objective 2: Dialogue, defend and develop of women rights in Zimbabwe.




The Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association and the International Commission of Jurists have for the past years worked towards defending the rights of women and children. In ensuring a just and equitable society, they have realised that women rarely live in a peaceful and secure Zimbabwe. The peace and security of women is compromised by members of the society, private as well as state actors. Violence against women is inflicted by families in the form of domestic violence, by private actors in the form of social, economic religious or politically motivated violence, by church leaders usually in the form of sexual assault and by the state especially the police in the form of wrongful, arbitrary arrests and torture. Laws insensitive to the plight of women have immensely contributed to the erosion of peace and security for women. The conference calls for academic papers within the following thematic areas




a.     Child marriages and Zimbabwean laws.


b.     The realities in Zimbabwe vis a vis the Zimbabwean marriage framework.


c.     Women’s land rights.


d.     Termination of pregnancy and Zimbabwean laws.


e.     Rights and opportunities of women in the new Constitution.


f.      Gender and the law.


g.     Counselling and the resolution of legal disputes within the family.


h.     The right to basic education and the Zimbabwean education system.




3.     Guidelines for submitting papers for the conference




a.     Abstracts must be submitted by 6 October.


b.     Full papers must be submitted by 17 October.


c.     Papers must not exceed 4000 words.


d.     Papers must be in Times New Roman, font 12, spacing 1,5.


e.     All papers submitted will be subjected to a peer reviewed process of a panel of Professors and Doctors in the legal profession and published in a book at the end of the conference.


f.      Authors are not precluded from submitting their papers to other academic journals for their professional development.


g.     ZWLA and ICJ will submit the papers to the Law Society for the authors to be exempted from any professional development courses for 2014 and gain all the required credits by virtue of authoring the papers.


h.      All presenters will receive an honorarium at the end of the conference.




4.     Guidelines for attending the conference




a.     Register with ZWLA on or before 30 October and the  early bird registration fee is US$20 whilst late registration is $50.00


b.      ZWLA and ICJ will cover transport costs, food and accommodation for all registered lawyers.


c.     The Conference is for 100 lawyers mainly women lawyers from all over the world and all over Zimbabwe and registration is on a first come first served basis.


d.     Men who want to attend should indicate intention by a motivation letter.


e.     Late registration fee is $50


5. Benefits of attending the Conference




1.     Networking


2.     Learning


3.     ZWLA and ICJ will engage with the Law Society for you to be exempted from its continuous development courses by virtue of attending the educative conference.


4.     If you present, you get an opportunity to publish your work.


5.     ZWLA and ICJ will cover all conference costs.


6.     The opportunity to be part of building a strong network of women lawyers in Zimbabwe.




Registration now open call or email Merit Rumema 0774138924 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / Fiso Ncube 0772870118 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for registration and payment.



Papers and enquiries  regarding papers must be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


All other enquiries regarding the conference can be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




                                       DEFENDING WOMEN; DEFENDING RIGHTS