‘Women need more education on elections’

Source: ‘Women need more education on elections’ | Sunday News (local news)

Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) says there is a need to increase educating women on electoral processes so as to improve their knowledge and enable them to participate effectively while armed with correct information.

With Zimbabweans going to cast their votes in 2023 in the harmonised elections, the elections management body said they were engaging various stakeholders to ensure that women get adequate support and education regarding electoral processes.

In an interview, ZEC Director Research and Development Dr Antony Chikutsa said through research, they have managed to identify  gaps that see women lagging behind.

“We have done several researches which point to the fact that women lack adequate knowledge in terms of who runs elections, what they are supposed to do if they want to contest, and where they can register.

It is basically a lot of areas that they lack information on which as a commission we are trying to address. As a commission, the fact that we are actually researching these things shows that we are willing to address  the shortcomings,” he said.

Dr Chikutsa said they have involved several Civil Society Organisations to assist in ensuring that there is information dissemination as well as adequate education on women who want to participate in politics.

“We are collaborating with Civil Society and other Chapter 12 Commissions and recently there was a training for aspiring women candidates on the information they need if they want to participate as voters or as candidates, particularly of the nomination process as to how one becomes a candidate for Local Authority, National Assembly or Presidential elections,” he said.

ZEC has also trained Zimbabwe Republic Police officers on violence against women during elections.

“We participated in the training of police officers on violence against women in elections so the purpose was to highlight the steps that the police should take in terms of addressing violence against women in elections.

If the police do not address those things the outcome of those elections can be disputed, everyone has a role to play to ensure an election is credible,” said Dr Chikutsa.

He said trends were likely to change in the forthcoming elections.

“When we talk of participation of women in the forthcoming elections, there are three types, women as candidates, as voters and election officers.

When you look at them as election officers, we are not likely to see a huge increase, senior electoral officers are likely to be found in those positions because they hold higher positions in the Public Service where they are recruited.

In terms of ZEC, we have a balance commission in terms of gender, although the secretariat still has an imbalance, that is participation in terms of electoral officers.” – @NyembeziMu.