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Women protest over misinformation

WOMEN have protested over how female politicians across the political divide are being scandalised in the media which is scaring many of them away from politics.

Despite being the dominant voting group, women have been reduced to mostly cheerleaders in Zimbabwe’s politics as their number continues to drop in each election. Only 22 women were elected for the 210 National Assembly seats in 2023 down from 25 in 2018.

In last year’s polls there was only one female presidential candidate, Elisabeth Valerio who is the leader of the United Zimbabwe Alliance, compared to four in the 2018 polls.

Addressing delegates and the media during the launch of the Situational Analysis Report on The State of Gendered Information Disorders in Zimbabwe Before, During and After 2023 Elections by Media Monitors in partnership with Tutuma Trust, Lead president Linda Masarira said there was general disrespect for women.

“Gendered disinformation undermines women’s credibility and is a weapon that is crippling women’s political participation,” Masarira said.

“Women are afraid of being called sellouts or prostitutes and all sorts of tags if they don’t follow a certain political path. This in turn humiliates and ridicules them. We need to stop gendered disinformation and remember that there is no democracy without women.”

Women in Politics Support Unit executive director, Sakhile Sifelani Ngoma said it was disheartening to note that women were being portrayed as incapable of doing anything.

“Men and women in our society now generally believe that women are not capable, are not competent and need to be trained,” she said.

“Funnily, in our society and at law this harm is already acknowledged on paper; you find it in the Electoral Act and various pieces of law and the amended laws but the reason why you don’t see prosecutions and any real physical remedies is when a woman is the victim.”

Zimbabwe Gender Commission communications officer, Audrey Charamba, said those who violate and infringe on women’s rights should be prosecuted.

“If you are going to be spreading and forwarding hate speech, I believe and the commission believes let you be prosecuted,” she said.

She urged the public to be alert and bring to the attention of the commission any hate speech or gendered disinformation.



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