Gender Commission laments “exorbitant” nomination fees


Harare (New Ziana) -The Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) has lamented the position by Parliament to retain the nomination fees for all electoral candidates saying it is a major systemic barrier for women to participate in the harmonised elections set for August 23 this year.

The fees which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) published through Statutory Instrument 144/2022 increased from USD1 000 for Presidential Candidates to USD20 000, for a constituency from USD50 to USD1 000, and party lists from USD100 to USD200.

Nomination Court are set to sit on Wednesday across the country to accept candidates for Presidential, Parliamentary and council elections.

According to the ZGC, the nomination fees have been received with numerous distress calls from potential candidates, most of whom have been preparing to participate in the political arena in various positions.

In a press statement on Tuesday, the ZGC said exorbitant nomination fees are not responsive to prevailing socio-economic conditions in Zimbabwe and if not addressed, only serve to further marginalise those aspiring candidates who are not able to pay expected amounts.

“It is a well-known fact that women’s unequal access to economic resources is one of the major causes of low representation of women in political leadership. ZGC therefore reiterates its heightened concern on the current nomination fees, which remain prohibitive, particularly in cases where candidates may be asked to make their way without financial support.

“Simultaneously, the fees have potential to erode hopes for inclusion for marginalised groups, in turn presenting structural barriers to increased representation in leadership and decision-making.

“More recently, and in response to recommendations from political parties in Parliament, ZGC has worked with partners to facilitate training for 239 women under the Women Rise in Politics (WRiP) programme, encouraging political candidature across all parties,” read part of the statement.

The ZGC added that while it applauds the adoption of quotas for increased representation of women and youths in the National Assembly as well as in local government, it should however be noted that increased representation of other excluded groups cannot solely be through quotas as lessons learnt to date have shown that this has not led to increase in statutory seats.

“Rather, the existence of such quotas has reportedly been used to discourage some aspiring candidates from seeking election through direct elections.

This has over time, led to decreased representation of women outside of the quota system, regressing rather than increasing in line with constitutional aspirations, SADC Protocol on Gender and Development and the African Union Agenda 2063, AU Women Protocol and Sustainable Development Goals, among other instruments.”

In order to address the situation, the ZGC said there was need to review the provisions of SI 144/2022 to make the fees affordable to aspiring women committed to participating in the 2023 harmonised elections.

Alternatively, there is need to provide an enabling environment for women’s participation, which may include, but should not be limited to, a waiver of a percentage of the fees and or support of women candidature through acceptable sponsorship packages, the ZGC said.

New Ziana

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