Women’s roadmap to elections

The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe is concerned that the Government of National Unity formed in 2008 has lagged behind in implementing critical issues concerning women. These include the writing of a new gender sensitive constitution in a democratic way; a broad national healing process, socio-economic and political reconstruction and free and fair elections where women participate effectively.

The Coalition has set out minimum conditions for free and fair elections that include a conducive environment for women to participate, a constitution that guarantees all human rights of women and embraces the 50/50 principle for women and men in decision making positions. They also want to see legal reform and the repeal of repressive legislation as well as the domestication and implementation of international and regional instruments dealing with women’s empowerment specifically the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

The Coalition has called for an amendment to the Political Parties Finance Act to allocate resources to women candidates. Women also want media reforms that will see women of all political affiliations having equitable access to the state’s electronic and print media, and electoral reforms to ensure that all eligible voters can vote. They say the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission should remove the need to produce proof of residence in order to register.

The women’s roadmap includes the following:

• The state should ensure full security of women and girls during election periods and end impunity

• Political parties must commit to non-violent campaigning and desist from hate speech in accordance with the GPA

• We demand that all stakeholders mainstream non-violence education in all awareness raising and voter education campaigns by all players

• The state should guarantee and safeguard freedom of movement, expression and assembly for all citizens especially women

• The National Healing process should be funded and implemented in earnest by a legally constituted body

• The state should promote adequate and continuous voter education targeted more specifically at women.

• All political parties should promote intra-party democracy to allow women to be better represented, including affirmative action policies.

• Government to promote nation building above party politics and de-politicisation of national and international days/events

• The state should ensure non-partisan use of state resources, humanitarian aid traditional leadership structures

• Respect for the doctrine of separation of powers.

• Ensure that the Human Rights, Media and Anti-corruption commissions become fully functional and are well resourced.

• Transform ZEC to be a truly independent electoral commission with full mandate to oversee elections, answerable to a minister and reporting to parliament to increase its accountability

• Effect 50/50 representation in the management body, programming, election observation and monitoring

• ZEC should be in charge of inviting and accrediting all observers

• ZEC should be provided with adequate resources for running the elections

• Zimbabweans in the diaspora to be allowed to vote.

• Election observers should be gender sensitive and allow teams to have equal representation of women

• Observers should come six months before and stay three months after the elections to observe the whole electoral cycle.