Mugove Tafirenyika 10 July 2017
HARARE – The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has begun the process of
accrediting civic organisations that it will collaborate with when it
rolls out its voter education campaign ahead of the eagerly-anticipated
next year’s elections.
This comes as there were growing concerns among the civic society
organisations (CSOs) that the national elections management body was
delaying the launch of the voter education and registration processes.
In a June 21 letter to the organisations, Zec acting chief elections
officer Utoile Silaigwana said the electoral commission will soon be
inviting the organisations to partake in various campaigns.
Over and above traditional civic organisations such as the Zimbabwe
Electoral Support Network (Zesn) and Elections Resource Centre, among
several others, Zec has also invited new partners to participate.
“You are therefore authorised to collaborate with the commission in voter
education programmes and you will be receiving invitation to conduct voter
education from time to time depending on electoral processes scheduled.
“It is critical to note that your organisation should undertake to be
bound by the provisions of the Zimbabwe Constitution , Section 40 of the
Electoral Act Chapter (2:13) as well as code of conduct for voter
educators,” Silaigwana said in a letter to the Zimbabwe Protection Forum.
Stakeholders have been putting pressure on Zec to expedite the
accreditation of civic society organisations that have applied to
complement the commission’s efforts in conducting comprehensive voter
This is against a backdrop of challenges which marred previous mobile
voter registration exercises in last elections where hundreds of people
were turned away for various reasons, including lack of proper
identification and proper proof of residence.
The Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (Bridge)
handbook defines voter education, also known as electoral education, as
programmes aimed at people of the voting age and over and addresses
voters’ motivation and preparedness to participate fully in elections.
Voter education is basically concerned with giving the types of electoral
systems and electoral process and concepts such as basic human rights and
voting rights, the role, responsibilities and rights of voters, the
relationship between elections and democracy, conditions necessary for
democratic elections, secrecy of the ballot, why each vote is important
and its impact on public accountability and how votes translate into