EISA Zimbabwe: Conflict management

To assist the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), in terms of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeded on in September 2011, EISA has undertaken training workshops and conferences on a variety of subjects for various political actors, including CSOs, political parties, security forces, media people and others.


EISA has provided technical support for the training of election officials iro Zimbabwe's election dispute resolution mechanism for the 2018 elections, and also with consultation with political parties, CSOs and chapter 12 constitutionally constituted Commissions to obtain their input and buy-in.

Conflict management workshop for senior ZEC officials, June 2018
Conflict management workshop for senior officials

18-19 Jun 2018

EISA provided technical support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) training workshop on Conflict Management on 18-19 June in Harare. The two day workshop was to enhance the capacity of the ZEC officials who will preside over the statutory Multi Party Liaison Committees (MPLCs) during the 2018 Harmonised Elections. The MPLCs come into effect after the nomination of candidates on 14 June 2018.

Participants were trained on the functions of MPLCs, triggers of election related disputes and how the disputes should be managed. Participants are also being trained on practical skills in managing MPLC meetings, keeping records, processes and procedures for referral of matters in the case where the MPLCS have a deadlock to relevant authorities for mediation.

This workshop formed part of the overall EISA support to the Zimbabwe election dispute resolution architecture. Participants comprised Provincial Election Officers (PEOs), Senior ZEC officials from the headquarters as well as the National MPLCs chairperson in the capacity of a ZEC Commissioner. The training was attended by attended by 21 participants of whom 6 were women.

Discussion at follow up workshop on strengthening electoral dispute resolution
Follow up workshop on dispute resolution mechanisms

Mar 2018

The ZEC held a 2 day workshop on Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) mechanisms. Technically supported by EISA, this workshop was a follow up to a high-level dialogue workshop on Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) Mechanisms held in May 2017 (see below).

The overall goal of the workshop was to review the progress made by different actors on recommendations made during the May 2017 Workshop.

Specific objectives were: Presentation at follow up workshop on strengthening electoral dispute resolution

  • review the progress of actors in EDR in implementing the recommendations in terms of achievements, challenges and lessons learned;
  • explore synergies between and among different actors in EDR architecture;
  • propose interim EDR Structures pending establishment of the MPLCs; and
  • develop and agree on a a plan of action for the 2018 Harmonised Elections.

Participants were ZEC; the Judicial Services Commission; Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC); Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP); Zimbabwe Gender Commission; National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC); Zimbabwe Media Commission; Chiefs Council; representatives from Parliamentary political parties, Faith Based organisations (FBOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). Development partners including the EU, Embassy of Switzerland, IFES, UNDP and Zimbabwe Institute also attended.

Discussion at follow up workshop on strengthening electoral dispute resolution

A total of 56 participants comprising 35 males and 21 females took part. The workshop was held in Nyanga, was made possible by the financial assistance from the Embassy of Switzerland in Zimbabwe and the European Union (EU).

A major outcome of the workshop was the development of terms of reference and the establishment of interim EDR structures to deal with election related disputes pending the operationalisation of substantive Multiparty Liaison Committees (MPLCs) enshrined in the Electoral Act. The Chapter 12 Commissions agreed to establish the following operational and oversight committees in preparation for the elections, namely a Voter Education Committee; a Media Monitoring Committee; an Accreditation Committee and a Special Investigation Committee.

Particants in follow up workshop on strengthening electoral dispute resolution



High Level Workshop on electoral dispute resolution

18-20 May 2017

EISA, together with ZEC and the Embassy of Switzerland, held a successful High Level Dialogue on Electoral Dispute Resolution (EDR) from 18 to 20 May 2017 in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

The key objectives of the workshop were to:

  • High Level Workshop on Strengthening Electoral Dispute Resolution Develop a shared understanding of the key elements of the Zimbabwe electoral dispute resolution system, including the rights and responsibilities of stakeholders under the existing framework and the relationship between them.
  • Exchange on experiences from other jurisdictions with a view to reflect on lessons learned and their applicability to Zimbabwe.
  • Identify measures to ensure the implementation and possible improvement of Zimbabwe's election dispute resolution system.
  • Develop an agreed framework of collaboration among institutions in order to operationalise Zimbabwe's electoral dispute resolution system.

Sixty participants comprising 20 women and 40 men were drawn from the following Chapter 12 Commissions and other statutory bodies, government departments, Regional Bodies, political parties, civil society organisations as well as development partners:

  • Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
  • Judicial Service Commission (JSC)
  • Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC)
  • National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC)
  • Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC)
  • Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC)
  • National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)
  • Attorney General (AG)
  • Ministry of Justice, Legal and Constitutional Affairs
  • Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP),
  • Representatives from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs)
  • Senior representatives of Parliamentary political parties (MDC, MDC T, ZANU PF)
  • Representatives from the EU, DIFID,UNDP, IFES, UN Women and SIDA)
  • Southern African Development Community Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC)
  • Electoral Commissions Forum of the SADC Region (ECF- SADC)
Feb 2013: Stakeholder conference on conflict management; participants were drawn from academia, CSOs, media, state structures and political parties


Conference on conflict management

18-19 Feb 2013

EISA and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) held a big conference on the theme "Comparative Experience on Referendum and Election Related Conflicts" at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare from 18-19 February 2013. In order to proactively address the causes of election related conflicts ahead of the referendum and elections, ZEC is cooperating with statutory and non-statutory institutions charged with the management of conflict in Zimbabwe. These include the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), Organ on National Healing Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI) and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). It is under the auspices of this cooperation that the conference was held.

The purpose of the Conference was therefore to address the problem of violent election-related conflict in with a view to understanding its external and internal causes, magnitude and consequences for democratic governance. Some of the important questions which the conference looked at were and not limited to: Do electoral stakeholders have faith in the constitutional, legal and institutional framework for elections? How do the electoral stakeholders relate to each other? Is there a code of conduct governing the behaviour of key actors? How enforceable is the code? Do stakeholders respect the code? Besides formal mechanisms, what alternative dispute resolution mechanisms exist to deal with conflicts timeously? Contributions on best practices from across the SADC region and the continent were made by invited expert.

A total of 141 participants from various stakeholders attended the conference. The stakeholders included:

  • Political parties;
  • JOMIC;
  • ONHRI;
  • ZHRC;
  • ZRP;
  • Civil society organisations (including; Faith based organisation and NGOs);
  • Media
  • Academia; and
  • Development partners


Training for political parties

Jul/Aug 2012

EISA Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) jointly conducted a conflict management training workshop for Directors of Elections of 20 political parties including the three in the power-sharing government. The two-day training workshop was held in Bulawayo on 31st July to 1st August 2012. Participants were trained on conflict and its manifestations, conflict progression, escalation and de-escalation and on effective strategies for managing election-related conflicts. Through a participatory approach, participants identified causes of election-related conflicts in Zimbabwe and learned skills on how such conflicts can be managed prior to, during and after the referendum and elections. Both EISA and ZEC targeted the Directors of Elections as they are the ones who are directly in charge of their parties' election machinery. The office of the Registrar General (RG) was also invited to make a presentation on the status of the voter registration process to the parties.The trained parties are:

  • African National Council (ANC ZIM),
  • African National Party (ANP),
  • Democratic Alliance United People's Party (DA-UPP),
  • Free Zimbabwe Congress (FZC),
  • Mavambo Khusile Dawn (MKD),
  • Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
  • Movement for Democratic Change 99 (MDC 99),
  • Movement for Democratic Change- Mutambara (MDC-M),
  • Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai (MDC-T),
  • Mthwakazi National Party (MNP),
  • Multiracial Congress of Democrats (MCD),
  • Patriotic Union of Matebeleland (PUMA),
  • Progressive & Innovative Party Movement of Zimbabwe (PIMZ),
  • Rebuilding Party of Zimbabwe (RPZ),
  • United Peoples Party (UPP),
  • Voice of the People (VP),
  • Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU-NDONGA),
  • Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) (ZANU-PF),
  • Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU),
  • Zimbabwe African People's Union Federal Party ZAPU-FP.
Round Table Between ZEC, JOMIC, ONHRI, ZHRC and ZRP

19 Jun 2012

The Zimbabwean Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the EISA organised a Roundtable between ZEC, 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 on 19th June 2012. The purpose of this Roundtable was to accord these institutions an opportunity to explore synergies in managing election related conflicts in the run up to the referendum and elections in Zimbabwe. All these institutions have conflict management as part of their mandate and EISA and ZEC wanted to ensure that there was not going to be duplication of efforts particularly because they will be dealing with the same constituency-the electorate. During the Roundtable, each institution made a presentation on what it was doing and plans to do in the future as far as conflict management is concerned.

The output of this Roundtable was the identification of common areas of interest and possible cooperation. The Roundtable culminated in the creation of a Joint Committee consisting of officials from all the institutions mentioned above. This Committee will serve to coordinate the efforts of the respective institutions and prepare for their engagement with government on the dire need for their funding so as to be able to carryout their mandate. The Roundtable ended with a joint declaration by these institutions to work together in preventing conflict prior to, during and after the referendum and elections.

Resource persons were: 1) Dr. Clever Nyathi (National University of Science & Technology (NUST))) who presented on "the Causes of election related conflict: Regional Experiences"; 2) Mrs Georgina Chikoko (Former Commissioner of the Malawi Electoral Commission) who presented on "Management of election related conflicts: Experiences from the SADC region and; 3) Reverend Gift Moerane (South African Council of Churches) who shared the South African experiences of mediating election related conflicts.

Reverend Courtney Sampson of IEC South Africa presenting
ZEC senior management workshop

Jun 2012

EISA Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) jointly conducted a conflict management workshop for ZECs senior management including Commissioners, Directors and Provincial Electoral Officials on 22nd June 2012. A total of 45 managers participated at the workshop which was meant to enhance the capacity of ZEC to manage election related conflicts particularly as it prepares to organise the much anticipated referendum and elections. EISA had invited IEC South Africa to share its experiences on conflict management with emphasis on Conflict Management Panels (CMPs) and Multiparty Liaison Committees (MPLCs).

The Western Cape Province Provincial Electoral Officer (PEO) Reverend Courtney Sampson was delegated by IEC South Africa to deliver a presentation at the workshop. The participants were trained on conceptual understanding of conflict, its manifestations and causes of election related conflicts. Zimbabwean causes of election related conflicts were discussed with the participants and they were invited to suggest remedies for these causes. The output of the workshop was that participants came up with concrete suggestion on how ZEC can deal with election related conflicts.


Campaign code of conduct

An important outcome of a 2011 political party consultative workshop was the review by participants of the existing code of conduct for political parties contained in electoral law. Parties made recommendations, including consideration for the introduction of punitive measures for failure to adhere to the code to be included in the proposed amended Electoral Law. Participants expressed the view that this would go a long way in contributing to the deterrence of electoral malpractices that characterised the Zimbabwean electoral process in the previous decade.

Following this workshop, regular meetings were scheduled to continue the dialogue and to keep the space open for information sharing and tabling issues of common concern. The forum thus laid the ground for ongoing consultations between ZEC and political parties in the run up to the referendum and elections where multi-party liaison committees were to be re-established once an election date was set.