MEMBER of Parliament for Bulawayo Central Nicola Watson says women and youths are incapacitated to fund their own campaigns during elections, resulting in most shying away from participating in electoral processes.
Speaking during a Constitutional Amendment Debate Series hosted by CITE, Watson said the government must improve the economic situation in order for people to be able to freely participate in the political arena.
“The challenge in the Zimbabwean economy is that people are not capacitated financially. Problems in this country do not rely on Constitutional Amendments but on the rebuilding of the economy,” Watson said.
“If I did not have my own resources I would not have gone through with my campaign. Real economic growth will always result in real economic empowerment. Poor economy is what has made people not to focus on electoral processes.”
In another episode, an advocate and activist, Mantate Mlotshwa highlighted that the political sphere is not entirely accommodating for young women.
Mlotshwa said there are no clear policies protecting women from bullying and political violence.
“Lack of resources restricts women and youth participation in electoral processes. Women are exposed to various forms of abuse as they stand their ground in politics. Some are termed prostitutes while others get beaten,” Mlotshwa said.
“Some young women may have the zeal to participate in politics but you realise that the process in itself is cumbersome. For example the Constitutional Court process takes too long and candidates filing their applications can leave as late as 2AM. Those without adequate resources may struggle to get back home at that time.”
Mlotshwa also noted that some young people do not participate in electoral processes because they do not have a deep understanding of the Constitution.