Finances hinder women's political campaigns

By Kudzai Chikiwa -@tamary98

Women in politics have lamented lack of funding and lack of support saying it was the major reason for their losses in political campaigns.

Women shared these sentiments during a Women in Leadership workshop hosted by the Msasa Project in conjunction with the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises.

Mrs Nomuhle Nyoni who was an aspiring MP for Umguza constituency said women do not have enough resources to campaign compared to their male counterparts.

"Usually you get the people’s following if you have the capacity to offer them something. Men when campaigning buy beer and food stuffs for the people to vote for them, they may take them for holidays but we do not have such funding. At the end of the day people don’t vote for us because they think we have nothing to offer," she said

Former Councillor for Ward 15 Mrs Tamani Moyo said lack of funding drains women's confidence.

"If you are competing with someone with resources it means you won't have confidence. People have a tendency of questioning your economic muscle and also judging you by your assets. I was asked during campaigns if l had a car and a house. It means without that people think you cannot offer anything'', she said.

Women candidates noted that during the last Harmonised elections held on 30 July 2018 , many of them could not reach the public because they could not afford funding campaigning strategies like the media.

“I only had small pamphlets while my male counterpart had a big banner. Those with money campaigned through radio and television. They were also extensively covered in the print media. I am just a woman with a passion to stand for other women but l do not have adequate resources,” said Mrs Gugulethu Moyo.

Besides their economic challenges, women in politics said the political world is still dominated by stereotypes that view them as immoral and loose.

They said society has not accepted that morally upright women can be successful politicians.

Mrs Keresia Dagwaira Rwafa who contested as an independent MP said “The first question l was asked was if l was married. No one believed that as a young lady l could make a good politician. Some people even elderly women pointed at me and saying l was now planning to join the world of prostitutes which is not good.”

Women appealed to Non Governmental organisations to sponsor them the same way they do men.

“We appeal to NGOs to sponsor us as well. The challenge with these sponsors is that they look for people with established names already and forget us in the grassroots,” Ms Nomsa Ncube.

An official from an NGO at the workshop said they do not sideline women but they work according to donor funding.

“We work according to thematic area and we don’t just donate before election period. Therefore we urge women to draft issues they want to address when they get in office so that we look for donor funding in time,”said the official.

The Provincial Administrator in the Ministry of Women Affairs Mrs Khonzani Ncube in her speech read on her behalf by Ms Beula Gwaze said patriarchy, which is embedded in our culture, tends to discourage the rise of women to positions of authority.

“It is our duty to demystify some negative cultural norms and practices that make it difficult to achieve gender equality. It is my hope that this workshop does not end here but should help to build confidence among women, help to remove some barriers that women usually suffer on their way up the ladder,” she said.