Political parties must reserve equal seats for women and men, says analyst

A political analyst has said that political parties in Zimbabwe should be required by law to reserve an equal number of seats for both women and men in elections.

These remarks were made by Effie Ncube, speaking at a press club discussion hosted by MISA, in Bulawayo, Tuesday.

Ncube was addressing the issue of low participation in electoral processes, citing that there is less representation of women not because they are few in politics, but because they are slotted in stiff positions that are difficult to win.

“There must be legislative requirements that a political party has a certain proportion of direct female election candidates. If for example, you are contesting for twelve seats in a particular province, six of them should be reserved for women,” he said.

“If that requirement is not met then your papers should not be considered by ZEC. That would be a serious demonstration that women must be included in the electoral process. This should not be a national arrangement but a provincial one. That would enable assessment of every political party’s commitment to gender equality at the provincial level.”

Ncube said another way to promote the participation of women would be to make use of international best practices when it comes to nomination fees.

“We need to look at international best practices. For example, on the issue of nomination fees. There is an option that is used by other countries where nomination fees are categorised accordingly. Men have their own amount while women, youths, and PWDs have got their own. This prevents participation fees from being a barrier to female participation,” Ncube said.

“There is also an option that for those who cannot afford the stipulated amount, the number of nominators may be increased. That way they would need to have enough popular support to gain entry into public office. The numerous nominators would be a reminder to the candidates that the office they intend to occupy is not a joke.”

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