EISA Zimbabwe: Stakeholder information sharing

EISA is continuing to provide support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in its efforts at transparency, inclusiveness, outreach and making information available to a variety of stakeholders such as legislators, political parties, CSOs, media people and others.

2016

ZEC and EISA voter strategy workshop
ZEC Holds internal voter education strategy workshop

11-12 January 2016

As part of its support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), EISA supported a two day ZEC internal Voter Education Strategy workshop in Kadoma, Zimbabwe. The objective of the workshop was to develop a voter education implementation framework for the period 2016- 2020 in line with the strategic objectives and key results areas reflected in the ZEC Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

The meeting was successful in developing the vision and mission for voter education, identifying new voter education priorities, identifying stakeholders and analysing the electoral environment using the SWOT analysis framework. It is expected that the Voter Education Strategy will assist ZEC to conduct a coordinated and comprehensive participatory voter education programme during the 2018 electoral process.

The workshop participants were members of the ZEC Secretariat comprising the Executive Officers, Directors of Departments and Provincial Electoral Officers. There were 36 participants consisting of 14 women and 22 men at the workshop.

Activities 2011-2014

ZEC Commissioners at the official Opening
ZEC holds Voter Registration Conference

April 2014

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) held a two day All - Stakeholders Voter Registration Conference at the Harare International Conference Centre. Pursuant to the provisions of the Electoral Act and the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Section 239) which bestows the function of Voter Registration to the ZEC, this Conference was a sequel to the December 2013 internal ZEC Voter Registration Workshop which was held to explore various voter registration systems. The workshop came up with modalities of implementing the continuous voter registration including the Continuous Voter Registration Model which is provided for in the Electoral Act (Chap 2:13). It is against this background that ZEC has with the technical support of EISA organized this All-Stakeholder Conference in Harare from 28-29 April 2014. The overall objective of this conference was for ZEC to share the present its proposed voter registration model to all electoral stakeholders.

Expert Presentation at the conference

The specific objectives of the conference are to:

  • present a polling-station specific voter registration model to stakeholders
  • seek stakeholder inputs on the proposed process and modalities by ZEC
  • learn from regional, continental and international best practices on the proposed voter registration model by ZEC

The Conference was attended by representatives of electoral stakeholders in Zimbabwe namely; Political Parties, Government Ministries and Departments, Civil Society Organizations, Faith Based Organisation, Media, Zimbabwe Republic Police, local authorities and traditional leaders as well as voter registration experts within Zimbabwe. There were also regional and international Voter Registration experts from Ghana, Zambia and France. EISA as well as development partners were also in attendance. A total of 166 participants consisting of 50 women and 116 men attended the Conference.

Stakeholder meeting participants
ZEC Meets with Electoral Stakeholders

27 February 2014

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission held a one day consultative meeting with representatives of political parties, civil society organization (CSOs) and the media in preparation for the 2013 Referendum and Harmonized Elections Review Conference. The objective of the meeting was to discuss with these stakeholders specific thematic areas and elements of the electoral processes where they would like to make presentations at the planned Post Referendum and Review Conference. Through this kind of meetings ZEC continues to ensure that all stakeholders take part in the post election processes and in this way it maintains momentum in building good relations with electoral stakeholders in-between elections.

Stakeholder meeting participants

The three groups of stakeholders brainstormed and identified possible areas for presentation during the conferences. It was agreed that civil society organizations election will present on election observation, voter education and voter registration sessions. Political parties will present on political environment and election campaigns as well as election observation. The media will on the other hand present on the session on the media and security sector. Other sessions covering the rest of the electoral process have been allocated to local and international experts as well as regional and international bodies.

A total of 36 participants consisting of 12 females and 24 were males attended the meeting. These were joined by the ZEC Secretariat EISA.

2013

ZEC stand at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
ZEC exhibits at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZIFTF) in Bulawayo

23rd-27th April 2013

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has an exhibiton stand at the trade fair in Bulawayo where voter education and voter registration materials are being handed out to hundred of crowds attending the trade fair. EISA has assisted ZEC with the printing of the materials for display at this exhibition. About 10 000 pamphlets in Ndebele, Shona, Sotho, Venda, Nambya, Tonga, English and Kalanga are being given to members of the public.

Besides giving out materials, ZEC and the Officials from the Registrar General's Office are jointly registering new voters, verifying existing voters and facilitating the transfer of voters from one constituency to another. Voters and prospective voters were also requested to put their complaints and compliments In a record book at the stand so that queries which needed further attention could be attended to after the trade fair.

About 802 people including the cabinet ministers and Members of parliament had visited the ZEC stand by close of business on Thursday 26th April 2013. Out of these people:

  • 312 were registered
  • 13 were turned away due to lack of proof of residence
  • 5 were transferred from one constituency to another

The ZEC stand is a manned by 8 ZEC Officals and 2 Officals from the Office of the Registrar General of voters. The whole Team is supervised by the ZEC Commissioners on site.

2012

Members of Parliament and Senators are briefed on the electoral process

28-29 November 2012

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and EISA carried out a briefing of the two houses of parliament, the National Assembly and the Senate on the progress made in the electoral process to date. The briefing sessions which were held at the Parliament of Zimbabwe took place on 28th and 29th November 2012 for the Senate and National Assembly respectively. The briefing session provided a platform for ZEC to inform MPs on the state of its preparedness in relation to elections. The ZEC Commissioners and members of the Secretariat made presentations on different thematic areas including electoral reforms highlighting what has changed in the electoral law, voter registration in terms of the process and issues, voter education which is carried out jointly with civil society organisations, management of election related conflict and the partnership formed with the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI), the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police. ZEC also made a presentation on the electoral cycle and a demonstration of the voting process highlighting important aspects of the process, the likely challenges and how they are to be addressed.

ZEC and EISA have previously carried out similar briefing session for the other key stakeholders such as political parties, media and civil society organizations. This is an ongoing initiative which seeks to ensure that all key stakeholders are updated on the electoral process.

EISA observes the Stakeholders Conference on the Draft Constitution

October 2012

EISA was accredited as one of the observers during the 2nd Stakeholders conference on the draft constitution from 21st to 23rd October 2012. In keeping with Article 6(1)((iv) of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) which is the driver of the constitution making process convened the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference in order to table its draft constitution. Stakeholders consisted of the three political parties in the GPA namely; -ZANU (PF), MDC-T, and the MDC as well as civil society organisations (CSOs). EISA has been involved in the formative stages of the constitution making process in Zimbabwe through supporting COPAC's public outreach activities as well as the drafting process of the draft Constitution which was tabled to the stakeholders at this conference.

During the two days stakeholders went through the constitution draft thoroughly and thematically. As would be expected, re-affirming their positions on major areas which have been rigourously debated among the parties in the GPA. The differences notwithstanding, stakeholders were at the end of the day content with the fact that they were accorded the opportunity to express their positions so that the constitution will be a trully negotiated product. EISA observed that some of the key issues that were deliberated albeit not necessarily agreed upon across the various thematic areas include and are not limited to:

  • Dual-citizenship: While some advocated for an explicit provision allowing the holding of multiple citizenship, others argued against that and preferred the current set-up which does not permit the holding of more than one citizenship.
  • The position of the Senate where some submitted that the Senate has to be abolished while others felt that it should be retained.
  • The role of Parliament versus other institutions in the protection of the constitution. Whereas the draft constitution makes the protection of the constitution to parliament, other participants had differing views on this, submitting that that role would be played by a number of institutions including the Executive.
  • Procedure on the election of the Speaker of parliament in terms of whether this has to be presided over by a person/institution outside of Parliament or whether to retain the current practice where the Speaker is elected under an election presided over by the Clerk of Parliament.
  • Gender parity in relation to the presidency with some submitting that if the President is a man, the Deputy President must be a woman, and vice versa.
  • Qualifications for Members of Parliament (MPs) in terms of whether there has to be stated minimum academic qualifications for MPs and what those should be.
  • National Prosecutions with regard to whether to create the National Prosecuting Authority or to retain the status quo where the Attorney General presides over public prosecutions.
  • Creation of a Constitutional Court at the apex of the judicial system where others argued this was the best way while others wanted retention of the current framework in which the Supreme Court sits as a constitutional court when the need arises.

2011

CSO forums facilitated

2011

Recognising the role that CSOs play in accessing members of the public and providing the public with electoral related information, ZEC convened two inclusive stakeholder conferences in its efforts to reach out to this important stakeholder. To ensure an open invitation and the inclusion of a diverse sector of the population, ZEC advertised the events in local newspapers and held consultative forums in Bulawayo and Harare. Both conferences sparked a great deal of interest with over 100 participants from civil society and faith-based organisations attending as well as representatives from political parties, government institutions and other interest groups. At these conferences participants discussed the curriculum that a voter education programme should contain and a strategy for reaching out to voters. As voter education is a vehicle to provide updated and accurate information to prospective voters, being able to bring stakeholders together to agree on developing a common approach and methodology in providing members of the public with accurate and timely voter education and information was a major achievement.

Workshop for the Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) on the New Constitution

4 - 5 March 2011, Harare

EISA facilitated a 2 day workshop for the Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) on the New Constitution for Zimbabwe. The first day of the workshop focused on the theme Strategic Planning on Talking Points and second day concentrated on Methodology for Public Outreach.


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