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Zimbabwe Special Briefing – Volume 2
in Zimbabwe Coalition (SA Regional Office)
April 30, 2013
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are pre-occupied with the issue of processes and not issues that
the average Zimbabwean stands for.”
On behalf of
the civil society and women in particular, Mrs Virginia Muwanigwa
raised quite a number of issues that she thinks need to be addressed
to ensure the preparedness of Zimbabwe to hold free and fair elections.
In her opening statement, Muwanigwa mentioned the significance of
tackling substantial issues rather than just focusing on the procedural
ones. She also stated that politicians are more concerned about
the processes of holding the elections and not considering the “issues
and challenges the average Zimbabwean is stands for.” Reference
was also made to the electoral law in which she stated that women
are being excluded from participation. In her words, “…democracy
should include girls, women and men of Zimbabwe.” Mrs Muwanigwa
also expressed concerns about the issue of “real or perceived
A balance must
be made between the processes of holding an election and assessing
whether the needs of every Zimbabwean are being addressed. Such
needs are health and sanitation, food, water and electricity supplies,
employment and housing, to name but just a few. It is only when
these issues are addressed that it becomes clear whether Zimbabwe
is ready to hold a free and fair election. According to Muwanigwa,
when politicians only focus on the process contained in the old
or new constitution, it then becomes about them (politicians) and
not the people of Zimbabwe at large. The average Zimbabwean is defined
by issues such as those mentioned above.
She said, the
women are only prepared for an election when the party lists show
those targets. It was stated that women are not seeing theory and
practice coming together in the sense that what the law says and
what is being implemented is quite different.
Due to the violence
and challenges faced in the 2008 elections, women are unhappy
to hold the elections under the old constitution. Women believe
that the new constitution would be ideal to them if elections are
held in alignment with it because it addresses issues such as equality
in contrast to that of gender listed in the old constitution.
It was further stated that if the new constitution is not going
to be used for the elections, then at least there must be amendment
of electoral laws. With regards to real or perceived violence, women
want an environment that is completely free from violence. Violence
should not be anticipated in any form.
briefly mentioned that there are no resources for elections to be
held. She went on to say that if those resources are there it is
important to assess “how is the ordinary person going to benefit
from those resources?”
In her presentation,
Virginia went beyond the processes of holding an election and raised
other substantial issues beyond.
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