The Women Reform Network (WRN) exercising the right to petition provided in section 69 of the Constitution.
Notes that the country held by-elections on the 26th of March 2022 following recalls and deaths resulting in 28 vacancies in National Assembly seats and 122 vacancies in local authority seats.
Commending the citizens and other actors who pushed for compliance with the applicable law on by-elections to resolve the democratic deficit resulting from the vacancies.
Applauding the women who braved adverse circumstances to contest the by-elections as MPs and Councillors, as well as those who supported female Candidates.
Restating that women in Zimbabwe constitute more than 50% of the general Population.
Deeply concerned that only a paltry 15.5% of women were elected as councillors and 21.4% as MPs, a far cry from the constitutionally mandated 50/50.
Attributing the decrease in number of female contestants to political parties’ failure to field more women despite a commitment to do so.
Agitated by the failure of political parties to adhere to their own constitutions and election manifestos calling for gender equality.
Alarmed by the deliberate and direct violation of Sections 56 (2), 17 and 80 (1) of the Zimbabwe Constitution which elaborates that men and women should be given equal opportunities to participate in all spheres of life including in politics.
Realising that the decrease in participation of women is also a result of intra-party structural barriers and traditions, which inhibit women’s ability to run for office. Condemning incidences of violence against women in politics recorded before.
Advocating for the full implementation of gender equality laws, policies, manifestos by political parties which guarantee 50/50 gender representation in all leadership positions
With the 2023 harmonised elections fast approaching, we urge political parties to:
• Adhere to the dictates of the Zimbabwe national constitution in particular chapter 17, 56 and 80 which calls for gender equality.
• Uphold their organisational constitutions, manifestos and polices that promote gender equality.
• Formulate and implement policies and strategies that capacitate women with various leadership skills and techniques to boost their confidence to fully participate in electoral processes as both candidates and voters.
• Intensify resource mobilisation for women who wish to participate in leadership positions.
• Increase and guarantee security for women who wish to run for public office.
• Commit to end all forms of violence against women in politics and punish perpetrators including barring them from contesting for any leadership position.