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Zimbabwe Special Briefing – Volume 2
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (SA Regional Office)
April 30, 2013

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“Politicians 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 violence.”

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.

Mrs Munaigwa 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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