Voter registration nightmare for women

HARARE - Requirements demanded by the Registrar General (RG)’s office for voter registration are leading to massive disenfranchisement of potential women voters, Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development deputy minister Jessie Majome has said.

She was speaking at a round table discussion hosted by the Media Centre on women participation in politics.

“Proof of residence disenfranchises women because of the nature of the society we live in. There are very few women who can claim to own a house, let alone a lease agreement in their name. “Very few women are known by the city treasurer,” said Majome.

“There are people amongst us who still have the belief that women are not humans. We need to start thinking of democracy from a women perspective.

“The claim that women are the majority of voters is an illusion because it is a fact that few women were on the voters’ roll prior to the 2008 elections,” Majome said.

Majome decried the unwillingness by Zimbabweans to register marriages.

“Zimbabweans are notorious for not registering marriages and now that there is need for someone to prove where they live it makes it even more difficult.

“The man has to be in a very good mood for them to vouch that this woman lives with them.

“The new draft constitution provides for universal adult suffrage but women have to be on the voters’ roll in order for them to be able to claim the 60 seats reserved for them as well as take up their place among the other 210 legislators,” said Majome.

The issue of voter registration has become a hot issue.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday came face-to-face with the reality that ordinary Zimbabweans are facing at the hands of RG Tobaiwa Mudede’s officials while trying to register his twin children as first time voters.

Tsvangirai has demanded that there be a 30-day mobile voter registration exercise after President Robert Mugabe assents to the new constitution. - Staff Writer

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