Women Set Minimum Conditions For Free, Fair Elections In Zim

Among the conditions set by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe are a new constitution for the country, a gender sensitive national healing process, legal reforms, an end to politically motivated violence and intimidation and the promotion of intra- party democracy.
A statement released by the coalition Friday also calls for reforms in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the media, including the licensing of independent radio and television stations, and for the human rights and anti-corruption commissions to be fully functional.

“The state should ensure full security of women and girls during election periods and end impunity. Political parties must commit to non-violent campaigning and desist from hate speech in accordance with the Global Political Agreement (GPA); we demand that all stakeholders mainstream non-violence education in all awareness raising and voter education campaigns by all players (and) the state should guarantee and safeguard freedom of movement, expression and assembly for all citizens, especially women,” the coalition said.

In a roadmap which is almost similar to that proposed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party, the coalition also wants local, regional and international election observers to be deployed six months before elections and maintain their presence for another three months thereafter.
Zimbabwe will go to elections either in 2012 or in 2013, despite earlier attempts by President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu- PF party to have them held this year.

Negotiators for the three parties in the inclusive government — Zanu-PF and two MDC factions — are meeting in South Africa to consider a roadmap to new elections and issues that have to be ironed out before the elections are held.
South Africa, which was mandated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to facilitate talks between the country’s rival political parties following inconclusive elections in 2008, is hosting the talks.
Areas being considered include the compilation of a new voters’ roll, electoral and media reforms and the role of security chiefs in matters of politics and national governance.