High nomination fees locks out Zimbabwean women from vying for top elective positions
On June 2023, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) published an Extraordinary Government Gazette Vol. Cl, No.64 with the final list of successful presidential, senatorial and National Assembly candidates for the 2023 harmonised elections.
Secrets Known analysed the full list and established that all the eleven (11) candidates that were nominated to contest for the presidential seat were male. Ten (10) of these were sponsored by political parties.
Nine hundred, thirty-four (934) candidates were nominated for the Parliamentary positions composed of Senate (Upper House) and National Assembly (Lower House). From these candidates, only 229 were female which represents 24.5 percent.
Secrets Known has established that the increase in nomination fees at Presidential level from US$1,000 in 2018 to US$20,000 and parliamentary position from US$50 to US$1,000, disastrously contributed to women being locked out of elections as candidates.
Secrets Known calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe to review the exorbitant nomination fees which unfairly restrict women’s access to political participation and representation. This is because there cannot be democracy without women.
Just like the women, opposition political parties without enough financial resources were also hit hard by the exorbitant nomination fees. Secrets Known’s analysis further discovered that only Zimbabwe Africa National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), party in power, and the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), main opposition party, were able to sponsor candidates across 350 parliamentary slots available for political parties. The other 16 political parties and Independents all together managed to fill only 213 candidates out of the 934.
Secrets Known also noted that CCC has double candidates in seventeen (17) constituencies and triple candidates in two (2) constituencies, particularly in Harare and Bulawayo Metropolitan provinces known to be the opposition strongholds. The secret known is that some of the double and multiple candidates are allegedly being sponsored by ZANU-PF to help split the votes of CCC in its strongholds.