Zimbabwe is a Constitutional Republic with elections held every 5 years. The three arms of the State are, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary;
The new Constitution which came into effect on the 23rd of March 2013, established various commissions which play a key role in the governance architecture of Zimbabwe, namely;
Beyond the commissions the government comprises of 24 ministry’s
Zimbabwe Electoral System
Consisting of 18 traditional chiefs and two persons living with disabilities, the remaining sets are voted in.
Lower House/National Assembly
210 Elected from the constituencies + 60 women, 6 from each province, elected under a party list system of proportional representation.
Post- the adoption of the new constitution the 22nd of May 2013, Zimbabwe adopted a hybrid electoral system. This electoral system entails the combination of the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) system and a Proportional Representation (PR) system. The FPTP System, is a system wherein the winner (of the electoral contest) takes it all, this was the sole electoral system used in Zimbabwe since 1980. The introduction of the PR system allows for a party to campaign for all its candidates and voters simply vote for the party. Based on the results candidates are allocated seats according to the proportion of votes. In Zimbabwe, since the July 31st 2013 Elections, Zimbabwe has used both systems to elect members of parliament. Therefore in practice this means; on voting day, Zimbabweans are faced with three levels of government to consider.
Local government (Ward) – The outcome is determent by the FPTP Post system.
Constituencies – The outcome of ballots in this regards for the 210 constituencies voted for through direct elections by the electorate, FPTP System. The winner becomes a Member of Parliament representing that particular constituency in the National Assembly. Out of the total 210 Constituencies in Zimbabwe, 25 seats were won by women and 185 were won by men. In response to the low numbers for women in parliament over the years, the constitution establishes a measure to secure greater gender balance in the legislature through a quota of 60 women who are elected through a PR system. The sets are elected on a provincial level were all provinces sends 6 women to the National Assembly.
This is a constitutional measure to address persistent and historical imbalance in the legislature and enhance women’s representation through legal means. However this measure is subject to a sunset clause meaning that after two terms of parliament, the quota system will come to an end. The clause will no longer be applicable in the 2023 election.
Senate - The outcome of this ballot is, following the introduction of the new constitution, based on a PR system, further within the system a Zebra organisation of candidates is applied. This means that all parties have to start their list with a woman followed by a man on their list of candidates as this creates equal representation. The lists are fixed and all candidates plus the traditional Chefs and the representatives for the disabled makeup the formation of the Senate.
The hybrid system approach to elections was advocated and lobbied for during the constitution making meetings, for the purpose of enabling a process of change to make it easier for Women to become elected.
Women in Politics in Zimbabwe
Following the 2013 election the makeup of the different institutions looks as follows, in relation to equal representation: