Violence against women in politics marks ‘moral and ethical failure’- Petronellah Kwanisai
By A Correspondent
Despite a women’s quota system, men continue to dominate Zimbabwean politics.
Many women who fight for political participation suffer harassment and even violence, with no apparent consequences for abusers.
This constitutional requirement had been set to expire this year but was brought back through an amendment. Other sections of the constitution require political parties to put in place mechanisms for women to run for constituency-based seats.
Nevertheless, we have noted that there has been a lack of political will to bring more women into governance.
Zimbabwean women who want to participate in political decision-making face more than just ill will from their peers and political parties.
Despite dominating the voter population, women have been reduced to mostly cheerleaders in Zimbabwe’s political landscape. The large increase in candidate nomination fees impacted all but the wealthy from being able to run for National Assembly seats.
Women who run for office in Zimbabwe face a variety of persistent challenges. The most significant of these are discrimination and all forms of harassment. Women involved with politics faced threats from political opponents, members of their own parties, religious leaders and members of their community at large.
We are rising, but we are not there yet. So I encourage more and more young women to go for elective positions because we can, yes, we can, ” Petronellah Kwanisai, programs director with Girl Child Empowerment of Zimbabwe said.
The Zimbabwean constitution and other legal frameworks contain commitments to
ensure gender equality and provides for temporary measures to promote
participation of women.
According to Tatenda Maposa, a human rights defender, “These measures are not fully enabled in
subordinate legislation, and no sanctions are in place for non-compliance. As a
result, participation of women was lower than in previous elections, as political
parties generally failed to ensure gender balance among their nominated
candidates for directly elected seats, relying solely on seats reserved exclusively for women to give any inclusion for women. “