Zambian election violence is affecting women’s participation
There are growing fears that increasing numbers of women candidates and voters may not participate in the 2011 Zambian general elections because of an upsurge in election-related violence, IPS news reports.
Campaigning in the Chifubu constituency ahead of a by-election on 5 August was marred by violence and intimidation by supporters from the participating parties, the ruling Movemor Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) and the opposition Patriotic Front.
In January ruling MMD cadres threatened to 'gang-rape' opposition Forum for Democracy and Development president Edith Nawakwi over her statements on various governance issues. The country's inspector-general of police Francis Kabonde reacted by saying it is not an offence to threaten a person with violence. And President Rupiah Banda said the youths were merely reacting to insults uttered against him by the opposition.
But these events have concerned women politicians and rights groups who fear women's participation in the 2011 general elections will be affected.