Low women participation in polls worries lawyers 

Source: Low women participation in polls worries lawyers –Newsday Zimbabwe

LEGAL practitioners from the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region have expressed concern over the low numbers of women participating in this year’s elections.

The lawyers made the call while attending a training workshop on election litigation in Harare recently.

Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) vice-president Flavio Menete called for interventions which promote the participation of women in electoral processes.

“It is important for us to ensure the lawyers are prepared to make the relevant interventions to make the observations of the elections, come up with various recommendations as well as making sure that we have effective participation of women in political activities within our region, southern Africa,” he said.

“We know that we have some countries that are exemplary on that but not all of the Sadc countries. So it’s something we are also discussing to make sure that we have policies within our countries that will permit women to participate in political activities, but also taking part in all the activities related to the legal profession without fear and favour.”

Speaking on behalf of LSZ, councillor Rachel Chibaya said lawyers play an important role in ensuring that good electoral governance is experienced.

“We have developed litigation, observation and monitoring toolkits which will be used by the lawyers in their litigation and observation processes ahead of the upcoming harmonised elections,” she said.

She said their members’ interests when litigating will be on ensuring that the rights and interests of Zimbabweans are protected and promoted

The training was jointly organised by Women and Law in Southern Africa, LSZ, the Sadc Lawyers Association and the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association.

It sought to identify and strengthen the capacities of lawyers to litigate in defence of electoral rights and women’s political participation in the region.

Nearly 50 lawyers and social scientists drawn from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola, Tanzania and Mozambique participated in the high-level regional interactive capacity-building conference where participants from other African jurisdictions joined virtually.