Women face a number of challenges during the electoral cycle such as being victims of violence and intimidation due to gender-based stereotypes as the male dominated model of politics tends to undermine the value of women’s contribution and their participation.
This came out during a meeting held by Women’s Institute for Leadership Development held on the zoom platform dubbed: promoting peace and security of women during the Electoral cycle.
Participants who attended the meeting lamented that the lack of political will within political parties to safeguard the interests of women candidates worsens the situation.
‘’The campaigning and the electoral ground have not been level for women, we have seen women being beaten insulted and degraded in a manner that is really inhuman hence hindering them to fully campaign so this is in violation of the Constitution especially Section 57 which affords everyone political rights and freedom of association,’’ said the guest speaker Nikiwe Ncube who is a Development Practitioner and a lawyer.
She further highlighted that certain measures should be put in place to adhere to the threats and intimidation happening to women during the electoral cycle.
‘’Laws in place are supposed to be practiced without distinction for example the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act hence police have an obligation to make sure that there is law enforcement so as to guarantee security for women during the elections,’’ she said.
One of the participants, Precious Ndlovu, who is a young aspiring candidate and the Director for Youth in Progress Trust shared the experiences faced by women during the election cycle, alluding to the recent by-election in Matobo.
‘’There were 3 candidates for the by-election one being a female and two being males then the female candidate who was running against 2 men felt victim of political motivated violence, she was beaten up including her female counterparts, her house was burnt and her shop was looted and destroyed,’’ she said.
The zoom meeting discussion emphasized on the need to promote a violence free environment, that is conducive for women and a police service that protects its citizens especially women during the electoral cycle.
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