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Women in Elections-related Conflict. Dr. Annie Barbara Chikwanha, International IDEA Board Member muhera@gmail.com. Introduction . This presentation is informed by the following observations:

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Women in elections related conflict

Women in Elections-related Conflict

Dr. Annie Barbara Chikwanha, International IDEA Board Member



This presentation is informed by the following observations:

  • That despite the conflicts surrounding elections in Africa, women’s participation in parliament compares favourably with that of more stable democracies

    2. Irrespective of the type and intensity of conflict,

    women’s levels of representation do not follow a

    similar pattern

  • The fact that there is always some conflict raging in most African countries means the EMBs have to be more innovative and adaptive to the different situations

Women in elections related conflict
Women in parliament by regions-A reason to celebrate both the tenacity and the gains of African women on the political landscape

Women in elections related conflict

Conflict in Africa

  • Most triggers of conflict: structural, political, economic, social and cultural, are all at play in Africa

  • All types of conflict are also present: violent and non violent; intermittent, endemic and intractable

  • These conflicts challenge the capacity of African states especially in creating space for females to contest power

  • These conflicts are not just about power and resources but are rooted in the denial of human needs such as identity, security, respect and recognition- All needs to do with the human spirit and social reality

  • Conflict is not just the presence of violence

Women in elections related conflict

  • Why these problems?

  • Failure to manage transitions from colonial rule to democratic regimes on the attainment of independence

  • b. Failure to manage the transitions form one partyism

  • to multi-partyism

  • c. Exclusionary governance practices breed violence

  • As the marginalized force inclusion and this keeps women out

Other post conflict countries

Active Conflict zones

Semi – Active zones

Passive Conflict zones

Other post – Conflict Zone

Conflict zones in Africa


South Sudan

Other post – conflict countries

Women in elections related conflict

Active Conflict zones

Semi – Active zones

Passive Conflict zones

Concentration of refugees / IDPs

Other post – Conflict Zone



South Sudan

Women in elections related conflict

  • Evidence on the numbers of women in political positions compels us to ask some questions:

  • Which kinds of conflicts affect women’s participation the most?

  • How do we explain the variation or lack of it-in women’s figures across the different countries?

  • Why is that all the electoral systems experience some violence? Electoral systems have been largely to blame for much of the violence and Southern Africa has all the different electoral systems: majoritarian, proportional representation as well as mixed systems.

  • What then is the missing ingredient in all these systems?

Power alternation in southern africa
Power alternation in southern Africa compels us to ask some questions:

*Figures match no of seats currently filled by women in parliament

Source: http//www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm

Women in elections related conflict

  • It is clear from the table that most of the countries haven compels us to ask some questions:’t experienced power alternation- political party- and they are almost all having one kind of problem or another- there is always some kind of turmoil

  • Security is always a priority concern for women

  • Criminalization of political activity (through legislation as with POSA in Zimbwabwe and Zambia)

  • Anxiety triggered by insecurity disrupts lives, lowers productivity, forces women to withdraw from associational activities and from politics

  • It displaces people, leads to an adjournment of dreams and hopes and ultimately destroys social capital networks that could support women’s efforts to influence political developments

Electoral violence in the sadc region
Electoral Violence in the SADC region compels us to ask some questions:

Key problems
Key Problems compels us to ask some questions:

  • Lack of Intra-party democracy

  • The building blocks of democracy- where political socialization presumably takes takes place

  • Electoral systems that focus on Political Inclusion are key institutions for any democracy in transition as with most of Africa

  • The net effect is that it becomes difficult to consolidate democracy when the one act that is supposed to be a feature of the democratic game [elections] is the very same one that triggers anxieties and suffering and poses a major security threat

Adequate frameworks
Adequate frameworks? compels us to ask some questions:

  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women 1979

  • International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1962

  • Convention on the Political Rights of Women 1952

  • The Beijing Platform for Action –adopted 1995 at the 4th World Conference on Women

  • UN Security Council Resolution 1325 oct 2000

  • SADC Protocol on Gender and Development

  • Maputo Protocol on the Rights of Women in africa

    **all emphasized the recognition of the right of women in political participation

Women in elections related conflict
EMB compels us to ask some questions:

  • Push for the incorporation of human rights into the national educational curriculum and Civic education on human rights

  • Encourage shift of campaigns from focusing on insulting contenders for power to devpt issues

  • Gender balance of the leadership in Election administration

  • Gender balanced Election observation teams

  • Establish long term Election Conflict Management/Resolution boards across all regions at the national level

  • Enforce Electoral Code of Conduct