Zimbabwe women call for new elections.The Zimbabwe Women's Coalition, together with many other civil society organisations, rejects the recent reelection re·e·lect also re-e·lect
tr.v. re·e·lect·ed, re·e·lect·ing, re·e·lects
To elect again.
re of President Robert Mugabe Mugabe redirects here.
For other uses, see Mugabe (disambiguation).
Robert Gabriel Mugabe KCB (born on February 21, 1924) is the President of Zimbabwe. He has been the head of government in Zimbabwe since 1980, first as Prime Minister as illegitimate ILLEGITIMATE. That which is contrary to law; it is usually applied to children born out of lawful wedlock. A bastard is sometimes called an illegitimate child. and is calling for new elections preceded by constitutional and electoral reform Electoral reform projects seek to change the way that public desires are reflected in elections through electoral systems. Reform projects can include measures designed to reform political parties (typically changes to election laws); to redefine citizen eligibility to vote; to . Liz Frank spoke to Everjoice Win, Consultant Director of the Zimbabwe Women in Politics Support Unit, to find out more.
Before we talk about the recent presidential election, how did women fare in the 2000 parliamentary elections?
I'm afraid not very well. The maximum number of women members of parliament we have had since independence was 21 out of 150 members (14%) in the 1995 elections. But since the 2000 parliamentary elections we are down to only 16 women MPs, 13 elected by their constituencies and 3 nominated by the president.
Why did it go backwards?
One of the key factors in the last parliamentary elections was the issue of violence, it really managed to scare women away from the political arena.
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the SADC SADC Southern African Development Community
SADC State Agriculture Development Committee
SADC St Albans District Council (administrative authority for St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK)
SADC Sector Air Defense Commander Declaration on Gender and Development, all SADC countries have agreed to achieve at least 30% representation by women in elected positions by 2005.
What kinds of violence?
The tragedy is that most reporting has focused on attacks on white farmers. No-one can even remember the names of the women who were killed, who suffered beatings and the burning down of their homes because they were perceived as not supporting whichever side happened to be prominent in that area. Of course most of the violence came from the ruling party.
Did the violence escalate es·ca·late
v. es·ca·lat·ed, es·ca·lat·ing, es·ca·lates
To increase, enlarge, or intensify: escalated the hostilities in the Persian Gulf.
v.intr. in the recent elections?
What we have seen was sexual violence against young women who are not of any political persuasion. Young women were forced into camps where the youth militia militia (məlĭsh`ə), military organization composed of citizens enrolled and trained for service in times of national emergency. Its ranks may be filled either by enlistment or conscription. , supported by ZANU PF ZANU PF Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) , stayed to campaign in rural areas or invade in·vade
v. in·vad·ed, in·vad·ing, in·vades
1. To enter by force in order to conquer or pillage.
As you can imagine, these boys needed food, they needed domestic services performed for them, and what they did was the same as what happened in the liberation struggle. They went into communities and ordered women to provide food and wash for them, then they raped them and forced them into sexual slavery Sexual slavery is a special case of slavery which includes various different practices:
We have only begun to collect all the information and document it systematically. This also happened two years ago in the parliamentary elections, but the militias became a much bigger force in the presidential election.
How has this violence affected women's participation in the elections?
One of the major impacts of this political violence has been to push women out of the political arena, never mind the fact that women were already wary of politics. In many African countries people, and especially women, are scared of politics because they see it as dirty, corrupt, vicious, and that's the image that has now been reinforced.
Politics is not serving the needs of women. It is not about policy making and representing people, it's about an individual getting a certain position so they can get whatever it is they want to get. A lot of women don't want to be associated with that, and when violence is added, it compounds the situation for women.
Secondly, when we talk about the SADC Declaration and other such instruments, we must acknowledge that they are based on one major assumption, which is on countries where there is normalcy nor·mal·cy
Noun 1. normalcy - being within certain limits that define the range of normal functioning
normality , where there is a certain kind of democracy, where the rule of law governs the interactions between citizens and the state. But in the case of Zimbabwe, all of that has broken down.
For example, what do you do after you went to the police and said 'I was beaten and my home was burnt down' and their response was 'Sorry, that's a political issue, we can't deal with it.' How do you hold such police officers accountable when government has given up making rules and enforcing them?
When we talk of the SADC quotas, the figures that we are aiming at for women's participation, we are assuming a certain level of peace, and space in which you can negotiate those demands. But we have seen in Zimbabwe that when politics become violently competitive, political parties go back to their drawing boards to get rid of anything that could be considered a losing ticket, a losing horse.
In Zimbabwe, as in many African countries, women are still seen as a losing ticket. In normal circumstances gender considerations would have been made, not just for the sake of numbers but because many capable candidates happened to be women. Many women candidates were dropped, on both sides.
Are women saying the elections were flawed only because of the violence?
Certainly the violence played a big role. You cannot say, as some people in SADC have tried to convince us, that because not so many people got killed in Zimbabwe as they did in South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. in 1994, it's not so bad. Our position is that the death of one woman, one person, is unacceptable in an election. Numbers is not the point, it's about the quality and dignity of human life.
Women have not only died, they have lost their sons, brothers and husbands. As a result many women are homeless and they are now roaming The ability to use a communications device such as a cellphone or PDA and be able to move from one cell or access point to another without losing the connection. around. The state is taking no responsibility, neither are the UN agencies, because this is not classified as a conflict in the traditional sense of the word.
The elections were also flawed by the fact that laws were manipulated to suit one political party and to disenfranchise dis·en·fran·chise
tr.v. dis·en·fran·chised, dis·en·fran·chis·ing, dis·en·fran·chis·es
dis people. For example, the requirements for registration were suddenly changed, forcing voters to produce proof of residence. Many African women do not have proof of immovable property In all the civil law systems, immovable property is the equivalent of "real property" in common law systems, i.e. it is land or any permanent feature or structure above or below the surface. or ownership, neither do they have bills or household accounts in their own name. So to ask women who live in a hostel, like in the old single men's quarters in Harare, which were illegally converted into family units--to ask these women to register with proof of residence such as a water bill, is asking too much.
Women in rural areas were also required to prove that they actually lived in that community, and it was their word against that of the headman or sub-chief. If he did not like someone, or she had not given him some sexual favours he would say: 'I do not know this woman.'
The requirements for registration and voting completely ignored the fact that women are very mobile because of the migrant labour migrant labour
Semiskilled or unskilled workers who move from one region to another, offering their services on a temporary, usually seasonal, basis. In North America, migrant labour is generally employed in agriculture and moves seasonally from south to north following the system. Many rural women have husbands who work in towns, and they may visit them for long periods.
Why was it necessary for people to register and vote only in their constituency, and at the same polling station where they registered, if this was a national election?
What led to the long queues in Harare and how did women cope?
For the first time in the history of Zimbabwe The history of Zimbabwe began with the transition to majority rule in 1980 and Britain's ceremonial granting of independence. 1980 elections
Robert Mugabe's ZANU party won a majority in the elections in March 1980 with 53 out of 80 seats reserved for black voters, with we had a presidential election, held together with a mayoral election and the council elections in Harare, which made voting a confusing and lengthy business. An then the government reduced the number of polling stations by 35%! In the area where I live there was one polling station for the whole suburb. In a normal election previously there were polling stations in every primary school, and additional ones at the business centres. Personally I stood in a voting queue from 6:30 am to 11:30 pm.
People were deliberately disenfranchised, particularly women. We all know women have triple roles - they do not have the luxury to bring their beer mugs, put up a braai The word braaivleis (pronounced "bry-flays") is Afrikaans for "roasted meat".
The word braai (pronounced "bry", rhyming with the word "cry") is Afrikaans for "barbecue" or "roast" and is a social custom in South Africa. stand and be partying in a queue. Women cannot do that, they have children to take care of, they have Aids patients in their homes to take care of, they have houses to sweep, they have husbands to service.
In some townships there was violence in the queues because people were getting upset and restless and started pushing and shoving. Women got out because it became too uncomfortable. In some polling stations people were then allowed to vote throughout the night, but I mean, what woman will be allowed to spend a night in a polling queue?
What about voter education and access to information before the elections?
NGOs tried to provide voter education but the militia stopped us. From September last year women's NGOs were not able to go into rural areas, it got too scary to go there, or even into the townships to gather people. Voter education was no longer allowed according to the amendments to the electoral laws passed early this year.
Most people in Zimbabwe rely on radio for information, particularly in the rural areas, and Women make up 60% of the rural population. We couldn't access radio because it was the mouthpiece mouthpiece n. old-fashioned slang for one's lawyer. of the ruling party. A study by the Media Monitoring Project revealed that in the two months before the election, the ruling party had 96% of the coverage time on TV and radio, while the 4% that made reference to the opposition was basically demonisation Noun 1. demonisation - to represent as diabolically evil; "the demonization of our enemies"
condemnation, disapprobation - an expression of strong disapproval; pronouncing as wrong or morally culpable; "his uncompromising condemnation of racism" .
So was there generally a low voter turnout?
People who observed the election in rural areas said that by ten o'clock on the first day the voting was done. In one area that a colleague's mother monitored, 300 people came to vote at a polling station covering over 3000 homes. So the majority decided not to vote.
These were some of the facts that led us to conclude that this election was not free and certainly not fair. Therefore we have taken a decision as a progressive women's movement women's movement: see feminism; woman suffrage.
Diverse social movement, largely based in the U.S., seeking equal rights and opportunities for women in their economic activities, personal lives, and politics. , as part of a progressive civil society, to declare the election process severely flawed and its outcome therefore illegitimate.
What is the women's movement doing now - what are your strategies?
Through the Women's Coalition we are engaged in a project that will mobilise women to talk about the organised political violence they were subjected to. We want to use the process of documentation and analysis to give women a space in which they will be heard, as part of a cathartic cathartic (kəthär`tĭk): see laxative. process of self-healing. We want to organise women to write stories and poetry and collect them in a book.
Those who can't write can speak to somebody who will record and write their stories, so that all women can be heard. We want women to produce quilts and memory cloths that depict what they went through, make posters and paintings to tell their stories. We are getting a female musician to pen a song that we will release on CD and tape to document the pain and support the healing process for women, and we want to have two drama groups that will travel throughout the country depicting what happened, but also beginning to express what the way forward is.
Our goal with this process is to call for accountability, and to end what we are calling a culture of impunity IMPUNITY. Not being punished for a crime or misdemeanor committed. The impunity of crimes is one of the most prolific sources whence they arise. lmpunitas continuum affectum tribuit delinquenti. 4 Co. 45, a; 5 Co. 109, a. with regard to human rights violations in Zimbabwe. This has been a pattern since colonial days "Colonial Day" is an episode of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica television series. Plot
Survivor Count: 47,898
Colonial Day (the annual celebration of the signing of the "Articles of Colonization") has come, and President Roslin uses the : the liberation struggle ended with an agreement that nobody would be punished for anything they did during the war on either side. That was how the massacres in Matebeleland and the Midlands ended, with men from opposing parties uniting across women's bodies.
What that has meant for women. is that they have continued to stare their rapists in the face, some of whom gave them children. The women have never been given the space to talk about these things "These Things" is an EP by She Wants Revenge, released in 2005 by Perfect Kiss, a subsidiary of Geffen Records. Music Video
The music video stars Shirley Manson, lead singer of the band Garbage. Track Listing
1. "These Things [Radio Edit]" - 3:17
2. , it has remained an internalised problem.
We are saying that we are not going to let the men have unity or reconciliation without any accountability process this time.
There is clearly no agenda to talk about human rights and it is very unfortunate that governments like South Africa support this, considering what they went through with their TRC TRC
(in South Africa) Truth and Reconciliation Commission: a commission which encourages people who committed human rights abuses or acts of terror during the apartheid era to reveal the truth about their crimes in return for immunity from prosecution process. Flawed as it might have been, it at least opened up space for people to tell what had happened to them.
Many of us in Zimbabwe feel quite insulted by the South African leadership, which seems to promote the idea that Zimbabweans are entitled en·ti·tle
tr.v. en·ti·tled, en·ti·tling, en·ti·tles
1. To give a name or title to.
2. To furnish with a right or claim to something: only to a lower standard of democracy and human rights . We feel particularly betrayed by the women on some of the observer missions, who refused to listen to their sisters in Zimbabwe.
The project of documenting violence against women is our flagship, because we know that we cannot do business as usual, there is just no space. This project gives us an entry point to raise other issues, such as the question of land. Women have not been given any land, they have not benefited from a process that has been fought in their name. We have to ask who is defining this revolution for us.
What is the way forward?
A new constitution has to be put in place before we can talk about unity or non-unity. There has to be a re-run of the elections, but only under a new constitution and new electoral laws.
Mugabe was able to steal the elections precisely because the present constitution and electoral laws allowed him to do so. For now we need an interim arrangement while the constitution is being worked out. This arrangement has to be negotiated and has to involve civil society.
The logistics will need to be worked out, what we've got is basic principles. We need to have a proper election run with independent supervision, preferably from outside Zimbabwe because We have shown that we were not able to run these elections under the present administration.
As women and as civil society we are further saying there has to be a truth, justice and reconciliation commission. In South Africa they forgot the justice part, this is why the women had to go and knock on Noun 1. knock on - (rugby) knocking the ball forward while trying to catch it (a foul)
rugby, rugby football, rugger - a form of football played with an oval ball
rugby, rugby football, rugger - a form of football played with an oval ball the doors of parliament there recently, to get restitution In the context of Criminal Law, state programs under which an offender is required, as a condition of his or her sentence, to repay money or donate services to the victim or society; with respect to maritime law, the restoration of articles lost by jettison, done when the of some kind.