THE Election Resource Centre (ERC) has noted a 3% decline in women’s participation in the race for National Assembly seats in major political parties.
In a recent report titled Nomination Analysis Fact Sheet, the ERC says in 2018 women who participated were 14.4% of the total candidates compared to this year’s 11%.
The newly constituted United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) outshone other parties in striving for gender parity.
“Nominated women for the National Assembly election has dropped from 14.4% in the 2018
Harmonised Elections to 11.0% for the 2023 Harmonised Election. Out of the major political parties that nominated candidates for the National Assembly election, United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) performed best in gender inclusion with 29% of their nominated candidates being women. Notably, only 11% of the nominated candidates in the National Assembly for Zanu PF are women, while the number drops even further for CCC which only has 9% of their nominated candidates as women,”stated the report.
Zimbabwe had its nomination court sitting on 21 June 2023, to allow all interested parties to file their forms to contest in the upcoming elections, but it seems the dream of gender equality is yet to be achieved.
Violence against women has been a hurdle for female participation in elections.
In the 2020 by-elections campaign, sitting MP Jasmine Toffa escaped death and sustained a fractured arm after suspected Zanu PF members attacked her while she campaigned in Bulilima.
In 2021, three women from the MDC-Alliance, Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, say they were abducted and tortured before being dumped in Mashonaland Central.
They were then charged with communicating falsehoods after they reported the matter to the police, and after three years Chimbiri and Mamombe were aquitted while Marova is in exile.
Such treatment of women is not new and traces back to as early as 2014, when the first female vice-president of Zimbabwe, Joyce Mujuru’s political career was destroyed in a flash.
There were attacks on her person and character so as to discredit her, despite having been a liberation war hero as well as a holder of various government portfolios since independence.
Similarly, Thokozani Khupe (pictured) served as the deputy prime minister during the government of national unity between 2009 and 2013, but her political career was destroyed when she was portrayed as a promiscuous woman by male counterparts that were jostling for the MDC -T’s presidency after the death of the founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
She has returned to politics in the newly formed CCC but not with as much influence as she had prior to her fallout with MDC-T colleagues.
The report also highlighted the issue of double candidates as a cross-cutting issue in political parties but more pronounced in the opposition CCC.
“CCC, ZCPD and Zanu PF submitted double candidatures. CCC submitted double candidates in 23 wards, however, they have distanced themselves from 19 of the 23 candidates who presented themselves as CCC representatives. Zanu PF noted double candidates in 4 wards while ZCPD noted double candidates in one ward,” reads the report.