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2008 harmonised elections - Index of articles
seek to play bigger political role
Rukuni, Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe)
March 20, 2008
It has been a silent
campaign, largely ignored by the media, apart from the advertisments
that the organisation has published in the media.
But the Women's
Trust's "Women Can Do it" campaign could have a serious
bearing on who controls the next government if women candidates
pull through. The campaign for next week's harmonised elections
has focussed on the three presidential aspirants who are all male,
but the Women's Trust has not been dissuaded by this. It still believes
women can do it. The trust, for example, argues that if all women
candidates make it, they would have a 50 percent representation
in the House of Assembly. They would constitute almost a third of
the senate and 38 percent of local government seats.
Parliament has been given more teeth under Constitutional
Amendment Number 18, which means that women could have more
say in government if they make it. "At 52 percent of the population,
the power of numbers is on our side," the trust says in its
campaign, which is promoting women candidates without looking at
their political affiliation. "With so many women already nominated
and standing as candidates, the goal post is in sight. We need to
cross that finishing line with resounding impact." At first
glance, the numbers are not impressive. Of the 1 958 candidates
contesting council seats, only 740 are women. The situation seems
worse in the House of Assembly where only 118 women out of 710 candidates
are contesting 210 seats. The senate battle looks much healthier.
There are 61 women candidates out of 196 contesting 60 seats.
But the trust seems quite happy. "The two main objectives of
our campaign were first to get more women to stand as candidates
and secondly to get people to vote for women candidates," Women's
Trust campaign manager Lydia Mavengere said. It achieved the first
goal because there was a 49 percent increase in the number of female
candidates contesting parliamentary seats. Only 58 women contested
House of Assembly seats in 2005. A total of 919 women are contesting
the elections next week. The trust will only know the impact of
its campaign on the second goal when the results are out. But some
observers say, the women's vote should not be ignored because it
cuts across political lines and could upset some party heavyweights
if women take heed of the campaign. "It is in your interest
to make sure that the woman standing as a candidate in your constituency
is elected," the campaign says. Indeed women can do it, if
they use their numbers.
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