Citizenship is a complex issue to define, with both legal definitions and political definitions sometimes at odds with each other. Beginning with the groundbreaking work of T. H. Marshall in the immediate post-war period, scholars and commentators have wrestled with the nature of citizenship.
New research by the Research & Advocacy Unit documents the experiences of women legislators under proportional representation and the perceptions other MPs have on the special measure to increase women representation. This report explores what challenges and opportunities the current MPs under PR have and what the next steps should be after the expiry of Section 124 in 2023.
Zimbabweans, just like many other Africans, may be described as ‘voters” but not yet ‘citizens” (Bratton & Logan.2006). Mahmood Mamdani’s (Mamdani. 1996) classic thesis about citizens and subjects in late colonialism seems to have no greater application than to Zimbabwe, a country in which the voice of the citizen has been largely non-existent since the colonisation in 1897. The idea that citizens are at the heart of the state has never been a central notion for the state in either Rhodesia or Zimbabwe.
It i evident that Zimbabwe has a very large population of young people. The 2012 Census reports that 76% of Zimbabwe's population is under the age of 35 years, giving Zimbabwe an enormous "youth bulge". Youth bulges can be sources of increased economic prosperity, as in China for example, or soureces of instability as has been argued by a number of authorities.
It is a conventional position that the middle-classes are the staunchest defenders of democracy, but recent research in Zimbabwe suggests that this is not the case in Zimbabwe.
Since the middle class is conventionally seen as the major defenders of liberal democracy, their role in Zimbabwe is worth understanding, but a recent study suggested that this might not be the case (RAU. 2015).
This is the first in a series of papers on Proportional Representation (PR) and the quota system in Zimbabwe, and a follow up on an initial paper published by RAU(Matyszak. 2013) on the confusion about Proportional Representation. Whilst RAU recognises that citizen participation is generally the key to holding duty bearers accountable, it also acknowledges the integral role of women and youth, despite the fact that their voices continue to be marginalised.
This paper takes a preliminary look at middle-class young women under 35, to ascertain their views of politics in Zimbabwe today. These are educated and professional women holding jobs in the corporate sector, civil society or running their own businesses. They have strong opinions on politics and at the same time are cautious in engaging in active politics even though they have the financial means, the educational backing and the skills to do so.
On May 10, 2016, Parliament interviewed 23 candidates battling it out for 6 positions on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. The interviewing panel appointed by Parliament’s Standing Rules and Order committee interviewed prospective commissioners that included former ZEC commissioners, academics, lawyers, educationists and a member of the clergy.
In this piece - Research and Advocacy Unit senior researcher Derek Matyszak provides readers with an insightful analysis of the process.