BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
RESIDENTS’ associations countrywide have resolved to engage in a massive voter mobilisation campaign to ensure that the majority of citizens participate in the 2023 elections.
About 20 residents’ organisations met in Harare on Friday to launch the voter mobilisation campaign and resolved to push for diaspora vote in the 2023 elections.
It was also resolved during the meeting, which was organised by the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA), to push for a youth and women’s quota system in both local and provincial councils to enhance inclusivity in local governance.
“In light of the linkage between elections and service delivery, participants noted that there is a need to push for electoral reforms which are linked to service delivery so that citizens will have an understanding of how their vote will impact access to social services,” said Reuben Akili, CHRA programmes manager.
“The need to push for duty bearers at council level to have power in terms of decision-making as a way of enhancing accountability will also be a key advocacy issue.
“This is in line with the principle of devolution as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
The residents’ representatives bemoaned continued recalls of councillors in local authorities, which they said was crippling service delivery.
Over 80 council seats fell vacant following the recall of MDC Alliance councillors by the Douglas Mwonzora-led MDC-T.
“Participants bemoaned the perpetual abuse of section 129(k) by politicians through the ongoing recalls of councillors and MPs which is working against representative democracy, crippling accountability mechanisms and rendering residents powerless, hence the need to come up with provisions in the Electoral Act that will operationalise section 129(k) of the Constitution to allow involvement of citizens in the recall process of elected officials,” Akili said.
“The meeting acknowledged the need to push for executive mayors at councils across the country.
“This is in light of the fact that technocrats have become more powerful than elected officials and, in some instances, appear to be pushing partisan agendas.”
Political parties are also mobilising citizens to register to vote in the upcoming elections.
Zanu PF hopes to register five million potential voters for the 2023 polls, while the main opposition MDC Alliance is targeting to mobilise six million new voters.