Elections alone not a measure of democracy – Sikazwe

ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia commissioner Emily Sikazwe says the practice of democracy is beyond holding periodic elections but about inclusiveness.

During a regional workshop on the protection of the participation of women in the electoral process in the Great Lakes region, Sikazwe said the state of affairs in Africa cannot be allowed to continue where elections are viewed as a measure of democracy despite the elections not being inclusive and leaving out the majority of women.

She said women had a right to fully participate in politics and contribute to their nation’s democratic dispensation.

Sikazwe however said political violence was one of the factors that was preventing women from actively taking part in politics.

She said if elections in Africa are to be meaningful there was need to go back to the grassroots and involve women fully as they are usually the most affected especially in countries where social amenities are lacking.

She questioned about how democratic Africa had become despite having periodic elections in different states.

And ICGR representative Borniface Makokha said branding elections as a dirty game was preventing women in the Great Lakes region from participating in politics.

He said lack of legal backing in electoral laws and inadequate financing was also a major factor that was preventing women from participating in politics.

Makokha urged Africa to come up with gender sensitive parliaments if the call for gender parity on the continent was to be realised.

This is according to Inutu Mwanza, first secretary- press /tourism at the Zambian Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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