Zec gender aggregated results paint grim picture

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Zec also revealed that in local authority elections, 15,5% female candidates won compared to 84,5% males.

BY PRIDE MZARABANI
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) yesterday released the March 26 by-election gender aggregated results which revealed that only 21,4% females won National Assembly seats compared to 78,6% males in polls held on Saturday.

Zec also revealed that in local authority elections, 15,5% female candidates won compared to 84,5% males.

One of the losing female candidates, LEAD president Linda Masarira yesterday told NewsDay that there was need to encourage more women to participate in electoral processes.

“It is unfortunate that in Zanu PF, MDC Alliance and Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), there is no space for women as women were allocated few seats over the years.  These parties have never adhered to section 17 of the Constitution which speaks to gender balance.  We created LEAD, a woman led-party to break the bias and gender barriers,” Masarira said.

In a statement, the Women’s Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence said the low numbers of females contesting elections was caused by intimidation, harassment, cyber bullying and violence.

The organisation urged political parties to ensure they provide safe spaces for aspiring women leaders to actively participate in politics without fear of harassment.

The Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe said:  “Women’s electoral participation and political inclusion as candidates, voters and election workers is often hindered by a variety of gendered political, legal, social, economic and cultural barriers and the major barrier is the impact of violence against women in elections.”

Political analyst Effie Ncube said patriarchal party politics and party structures affected women participation in politics.

Another analyst Farai Maguwu said there was need for civic education to ensure more girls and women participate in electoral processes.

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