Women’s groups meet over polls code of conduct

AN initiative by the three main political parties, Zanu PF, MDC-T, MDC, to promote the Zimbabwe Code of Conduct for political parties has received a major boost from their women structures which expected to meet today to publicise the code.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

In January principals to the Global Political Agreement endorsed the Organ on National Healing, Truth and Reconciliation’s code of conduct which seeks to hold political parties accountable for any violence or intimidation perpetrated by their supporters.

Zanu PF Women’s League chairperson Oppah Muchinguri, MDC-T Women’s Assembly leader Theresa Makone and Thandiwe Mlilo of the MDC have held meetings in the past weeks at the Jomic offices to discuss ways of promoting the code of conduct at grassroots level.

The women’s formations have agreed to hold a joint meeting today.
Makone said in an interview this week the programme was a good initiative to ensure protection of women.

“This is something that was started by Jomic where three chairpersons of the women’s formations met and agreed on a number of issues,” said Makone.

“As the MDC-T, we met on Tuesday to develop our own code of conduct and discuss what we see as important to us as women. To us the most important issue is say no to violence against women, especially in constituencies represented by women and an end to all sorts of violence against women during elections.”

Muchinguri confirmed the meeting, saying they wanted issues of equality at every level during elections.

“As the women’s league we are looking at the participation of women from voting and monitoring to coming up with policies at every level,” said Muchinguri.

“We are saying how best can we work together looking at the code of conduct to reduce political violence? We seek to promote the protection of women contesting or monitoring and strongly condemn the beating of (Zanu PF Hurungwe East legislator Sarah) Mahoka by youths.

If party activistsresort to beating contesting women or any form of violence we will not vote for them. All those perpetrators should be brought to book.”

The parties’ youth formations are also expected to meet to map ways of promoting the code of conduct. The code calls on political parties to run their election campaigns without infringing on the activities of other parties. It emphasises that political parties should be able to campaign and disseminate their political ideas without fear.

The code also touches on the conduct of political parties during polling, accepting the outcome of a free and fair election and the use of appropriate language during campaigns.

It compels parties to desist from bribery to garner votes.

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