Connect with us

Support The NewsHawks


Women’s political participation plummets



THE Election Resource Centre (ERC), a think-tank and advocacy organisation on electoral and democracy issues, has noted a continuous decline in the participation of women as electoral candidates, with only one female candidate vying for office in the just-ended 3 February by-elections amid concern of targeted intimidation.


The elections, which came as a result of recalls affected on 13 November 2023 by Citizens’ Coalition for Change self-imposed secretary-general Sengenzo Tshabangu, only had one female candidate.

 “The Nomination Court sat on 18 December 2023 to accept nominations for the by-elections. A total of 16 National Assembly candidates were nominated for the six (6) by-elections. Of the 16 nominated candidates, only one (1) was female, representing 6% of total nominations. Down from the 12.9% from the 9 December 2023 by-elections and 11% from the 23/24 August 2024 harmonised elections respectively. The ERC notes with concern at the continued decline of women participating in electoral processes,” reported the ERC.

 This marks a continuous decline from the previous by-elections as in the 9 December 2023 by-elections four female candidates vied for office. As part of recommendations, the democracy watchdog encouraged Zec to review nomination fees which seem to be a big impediment to women candidates.

 “The ERC recommends that the Electoral Commission and Parliament assess the impact of the increases to nomination fees on women’s participation with a view to amending current provisions to grant effective gender representation in line with the constitution,” added the ERC.

 Meanwhile, the organisation observed a case of voter intimidation in Goromonzi by suspected Zanu PF youths.

“There ERC noted an incident of voter intimidation or attempts to disrupt the voting process observed at Ruwa Country Club polling station in Goromonzi South constituency, where a group of allegedly Zanu PF supporters besieged the polling premises intimidating voters, observers and polling officials, demanding from the presiding officer a list of all those who had voted during the day,” reported the ERC.

Intimidation has been part and parcel of the ruling Zanu PF’s campaign culture and this has led to either voters abstaining or being coerced into supporting them. The ERC however notes a decline in physical violence and arson in election periods but agreed that intimidation in other forms has remained.

“While the political environment in the run-up to the by-election was seemingly calm, the ERC received numerous reports of violence and intimidation concentrated mainly in Seke Constituency. Notable reports include intimidation of campaign personnel, including the alleged assault on one Colin Musonza and the alleged destruction of property belonging to one Alice Chingano. Widespread intimidation of the electorate through the setting up of ‘bases’ within the constituency that have an intimidatory nature and character,” noted the ERC.

“While the cases of overt violence may show a declining trend, the intimidatory practices that have accustomed electoral processes have a chilling effect on open participation and the exercising of political rights,” added the ERC.

They have recommended that police step up their efforts in safeguarding freedoms of association, assembly , choice and speech during election time.

“The ERC calls on electoral stakeholders including the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to safeguard the right of assembly, and limit the discretionary application of MOPA [Maintenance of Peace and Order Act] laws,” recommended the ERC.

*This article was supported by the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe in partnership with the Centre for Public Interest Journalism (The NewsHawks)

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *