This Policy Brief premiers a Dialogue Series on Zimbabwe’s preparedness for the forthcoming harmonised elections in 2023. It sets the pace for a series of discussions on the factors that enable credible, free, and fair electoral processes and outcomes in Zimbabwe. Thus, it introduces the essence of the basics of free and fair elections, including information, inclusiveness, insulation, integrity, and irreversibility, as well as other outstanding problems, such as ZEC independence. This report also includes the perspectives of notable Zimbabwean practitioners who say that the electoral deficit requires immediate repair. The report finds that without intentional and immediate improvements, the electoral process would remain ceremonial, contentious, and antithetical to Zimbabwe’s democratic objectives. The report suggests widening and deepening conversations about elections so that policymakers and stakeholders are forced to change the environment for the benefit of democratic governance.
This report observes a large increase in the number of young women that registered to vote in 2018, probably a very significant improvement in the rate of young women voting relative to the number eligible to vote compared with previous elections. The report also notes that views about the PhD (Pull her Down) syndrome, effects of culture and the views that older women seem to be doing little or nothing to encourage young women’s participation need to be taken very seriously.
Commercialisation of lobola has seen a rise in practices that stifle women’s voices and bargain in marriage. This has rendered them subservient to their husbands as society expects them to suffer in silence.
The voters’ roll is an essential document in electoral processes, in this regard, this report explores how discrepancies in the voters’ roll disadvantage voters and underplay democracy if it is not accurate and up to date. An incomplete voters’ roll may disenfranchise those who might otherwise be entitled to vote while an inflated voters’ roll containing duplicate entries, names of persons who have emigrated, or of dead voters, lends itself to electoral fraud…
The call by women is to undo the structural fundamentals in the policy framework that inhibit full realisation of women’s potential. What needs to be removed immediately are norms, values, policies and cultures which are the brick and mortar for a patriarchal order which sustains women’s oppression.