Women and Law in Southern Africa in Zimbabwe noted that the nomination fees prescribed by the Electoral (Nomination of Candidates) (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 (No. 1) Statutory Instrument 144 of 2022 were grossly unreasonable, exorbitant and arbitrary to such an extent that they constitute a violation of the political rights protected under section 67 of the Constitution and the right to equality and non-discrimination protected under section 56 of the Constitution.
The Nomination Court for the 2023 harmonised Elections received applications from aspiring candidates on the 21st of June 2023.The purpose of the nomination courts is to select candidates who qualify for the Presidential, National Assembly and Local Authority categories.
Women candidates amongst other were unfairly prejudiced. For example WLSA noted the cases of Presidential Candidate for Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD)-Linda Masarira and Elisabeth Isabel Valerio of the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) party who as prospective candidates were disqualified from lodging papers on account of difficulties experienced in effecting payments of nomination fees for various reasons.
This decision is a setback for women’s rights in politics and decision-making, as exorbitant nomination fees unfairly restrict women’s access to political participation and representation. Women and Law in Southern Africa urges the Government of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Zimbabwe Gender Commission and key stakeholders to take action to advance women’s rights in electoral processes.
WLSA Zimbabwe urgently call upon the Government to
- To respect the right of women to participate in elections as both candidates and voters as enshrined in the Constitution Section 67 Sub Section 2 (c) and Subsection 3 (b)
- To create a safe and enabling environment for women to participate in electoral processes
- Fully implement the 50/50 provision of gender equality as enshrined in the Constitution under Section 56.// ENDS