Project Vote 263 calls for adoption of ZEBRA system in political representation

Project Vote 263, a youth focused organisation, claims the current proportional representation system used in Parliament and the thirty percent system at local government fall short of achieving true gender balance and representation.

The organisation contends that the country should rather adopt the ZEBRA system, which maintains a 50/50 gender balance by alternating male and female candidates.

Zimbabwe ’s constitution introduced proportional representation in the electoral system, which means political parties are represented in proportion to their electoral support, or total votes cast in the polls.

In the National Assembly of Parliament, each political party submits a list of six names per province and there must be 60 female parliamentarians.

For local authorities, each political party submits a list with a number of candidates equal to 30 percent of the total number of seats or wards in a given local authority.  

The ZEBRA format or alternating format is used in the Senate,with the woman’s name on top of the list and has an equal number of men and women. Each political party presents a list of six names by province to have 60 senators for the 10 provinces. 

Project Vote 263’s thoughts on completely implementing the ZEBRA system for the National Assembly and local authorities come on the heels of International Women’s Day, which is celebrated on March 8, while March is touted as Women’s Month.

“Project Vote 263 acknowledges the government’s efforts  in promoting gender equality in public offices but rejects the current ‘tokenistic’ 60 proportional representation system used in Parliament and the 30 percent at local government as it falls short in achieving true gender balance and representation,” said the organisation in a statement.

The organisation said it strongly opposes this system and advocates for the implementation  of the ZEBRA system as used in the senate and other jurisdictions like South Africa . 

“The ZEBRA system which can ensure a 50.50 gender balance by alternating male and female candidates on party lists is the only viable way to achieve true gender equality in public offices,” said Project Vote 263.

Project Vote 263 said it stands in solidarity with women around the world and reaffirms its commitment to advocating for gender equality in political spades around and urges the government political parties, the private sector and civil society organisations to take concrete actions to promote gender equity and equality. 

“Let us celebrate the achievements and contributions of women around the world, while also recognising the work that still needs to be done to achieve true gender equality in line with the constitution of Zimbabwe, CEDAW , Maputo protocol and theSADC protocol on gender and development,” said the organisation.

The organisation also called on the private sector, civil  society organisations and political parties to prioritise the inclusion of women in decision making processes and leadership positions. “Women bring unique perspectives and experiences to the table and their voices must be heard and valued in shaping policies and decisions that  affect all members of society,” said Project Vote 263.

“We must continue to push for gender equality in all aspects of society, including in political representation. Let us work together to create a more inclusive and equitable political landscape where women have an equal voice and opportunity to lead. Together we can create a more just and inclusive world for all.

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