Zimbabwean women have come up with a novel campaign to force men to register to vote: a sex boycott.
Cora Ndebele, 39, and her team launched the drastic campaign due to a poor response to voter registration.
Due to the poor response, the provinces are at risk of losing constituencies in the delimitation exercise set for this year if the numbers do not improve.
Ndebele has launched her novel campaign, saying that all women should not entertain unregistered voters, including husbands and boyfriends.
In an interview with the online news agency, CITE, Ndebele called for women to boycott sex, kissing, hugs and all forms of intimacy from their husbands and lovers unless they register to vote.
“We women are the ones who bear the burden of suffering of all kinds, yet as women, we also make things happen at our homes. We turn a house into a home in the same vein; let’s encourage all our family members to be responsible and register and appear on the voters roll.
“Your ‘hubby’ that we love so much should register. If not ingubo kazitholi (no to sexual intercourse) until he is registered. He must show you his registration slip to show that he is registered.
“Even our boyfriends, bosisi should register. You can’t be in love with an irresponsible citizen. No hugs, kisses and everything until he is registered.”
Ndebele is not taking any prisoners in her campaign for people to register to vote and has called on landlords to ensure that their tenants are registered to vote.
“Our tenants should be registered, if not give them notice or they show you their registration slip to prove he or she is a responsible citizen.
“No to non-registered people at our home and there must be zero tolerance to non-registered citizens in our homes.”
This is not the first time that women have used sex boycotts to effect change. They have been used all over the world with varying degrees of success.
In 2003 Leymah Gbowee and the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace organized nonviolence protests that included a sex strike. Their actions led to peace in Liberia after a 14‑year civil war and the election of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the country’s first female head of state.
In April 2009, a group of Kenyan women organised a week-long sex strike aimed at politicians, encouraging the wives of the president and prime minister to join in too, and offering to pay prostitutes for lost earnings if they joined in. The boycott was partially successful and resulted in some changes.