EISA supports 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.
25 - 26 Feb 2021
From 25-26 February 2021, EISA Zimbabwe office collaborated with the Election Resource Centre (ERC) under the TRACE Elections Cluster to co-convene a two-day capacity building virtual workshop for the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services. The workshop was aimed at sharing regional experiences on parliamentary oversight on electoral processes, engaging the Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services on non-legislative reforms (administrative and operational reforms) that require compliance and developing an oversight work plan for the Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services that focused on relevant institutions. Regional experts, including the current vice-chairperson of South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) shared their respective experiences on parliamentary oversight on electoral processes.
The workshop provided an opportunity for members of parliament to improve their capacity to provide oversight role on media stakeholders around electoral processes. The workshop agreed to draft a strategy, with well-defined timelines, to be adopted by the Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services in order to track the implementation of media electoral reforms in Zimbabwe. The meeting proffered several policy recommendations on the recall of parliamentarians that will enrich CSOs' advocacy interventions on electoral reform and, most importantly, how to balance the objectives of recall provisions and the interests of the electorate, elected representatives and political parties within a democratic system.
12 Feb- 12 Mar 2021
In its support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on regular stakeholder engagement on different electoral processes, EISA is currently supporting a live radio broadcasting programme on the Grill, Classic 263. Classic 263 is a hard talk programme that aims at interrogating topical issues and keeping the nation informed. The radio station has a national audience of 1.2 million listeners, the second-largest for a single radio station in Zimbabwe according to Zimbabwe All Media Product Survey of 2019.
Aired every Friday morning between 0715 and 0800hrs from 12 February - 12 March 2021, the objective of the programme is to keep the electorate informed on the anticipated 2022 delimitation exercise. This activity is also a direct outcome of EISA's efforts towards encouraging a collaborative relationship between the ZEC and the media as well as supporting innovative ways of keeping stakeholders engaged in the face of COVID-19 restrictions.
The programme is highly interactive, the ZEC Commissioners and technical personnel from the Voter Registration and Delimitation department provide the content of the discussion as well as responding to questions from listeners. The programme is expected to contribute to establishing a common understanding of how the upcoming delimitation exercise for the 2023 exercise will be conducted and how stakeholders will be involved.
Besides providing the technical and legal aspect of the delimitation exercise, the ZEC is also encouraging eligible voters to register in preparation for the exercise and subsequently 2023 elections and providing information on the country's electoral system.
Originally support the establishment of regular engagement platforms for political parties, CSOs, media, FBOs and ZEC was envisaged, where broad issues on the electoral process could be discussed and opportunities to raise concerns with the ZEC were created. However, this had to be adjusted under the current COVID 19 circumstances and meeting restrictions.
The adjustment allowed for the ZEC to develop, print and disseminate 5000 copies of the ZEC's Covid-19 Electoral Policy A5 booklets to raise awareness about ZEC's policy and guidelines concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy booklets are expected to encourage stakeholder preparedness and compliance with the guidelines when participating in all upcoming electoral activities.
The electoral policy guidelines apply to pandemics in general and will, therefore, have a long-term use. Despite the suspension of by-elections, ZEC is proceeding with disseminating the guidelines.
After a long wait a EISA received approval from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Ministry of Finance to provide financial and technical support to the ZEC. The approval was required for EISA's support to the ZEC to be implemented. During this period, EISA also managed to develop and agree with the ZEC the areas it wanted EISA to provide support on within the TRACE project. These activities include capacity building of ZEC staff on the expected delimitation exercise as well as voter education for ongoing by-elections.
An intended intervention of this project is to build capacity within parliament at several levels, including enhancing the role and capacities of parliamentary committees on electoral reform by providing technical support to the relevant standing committee. EISA approached the Speaker of Parliament regarding a proposed MoU to facilitate EISA's support with the Parliament of Zimbabwe to explore a working partnership.
As a member of the Election Cluster group EISA hosted a coordination meeting with the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and Election Resources Centre (ERC) to establish a working relationship on supporting Zimbabwe electoral processes. The coordination meeting provided an opportunity to avoid duplication and reinforce efforts through the deliberate collaboration for purposes of amplifying outcomes. EISA, ERC and ZESN implement activities focused on supporting the electoral cycle and co-ordination on electoral analysis is therefore key.
One of the meeting decisions was to convene a Brown Bag meeting before year-end. The topic of the Brown Bag meeting will be, "Lessons and Experiences from 2019 Regional Elections - Any Considerations for Zimbabwe?" Lessons and experiences will be drawn from observed 2019 electoral processes in the region, in Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and electoral stakeholders held a three-day National Multi-stakeholder Post-Election Review Conference from 10 to 12 April 2019, which marked the end of the 2013-2018 election cycle and the beginning of the 2018-2023 election cycle.
The goal of the conference, and its prequel thematic post-election reviews that were held between November and March 2019, was to reflect on what worked and what did not work during the 2018 electoral process to extract critical lessons needed to determine what needs to be improved during 2023 electoral process. The specific objectives were to:
Participants at the conference included Political Parties, Government Ministries and Departments, Civil Society Organizations, Faith Based Organisations, Media, Zimbabwe Republic Police, traditional leaders, Constitutional Commissions, academia, representatives of regional and international organisations that were accredited to observe the 2018 Harmonised Elections, regional and international election experts, development partners and embassies, ZEC national and provincial staff and EISA. A total of 150 participants consisting of 101 men and 49 women are attending the Conference.
Proceedings of the Conference will be compiled into a comprehensive report that will contain key issues, lessons learnt as well as concrete recommendations that will inform the ZEC and electoral stakeholders of the reforms and electoral assistance programmes for 2023 elections.
The Conference has attracted both online and offline media as indicated below. For more timely updates kindly follow: #ELECTIONREVIEWZW
BLESSED MHLANGA 2019 "Zec shuts door on Chamisa", Newsday, 11 Apr, [www] https://www.newsday.co.zw/2019/04/zec-shuts-door-on-chamisa/ (accessed 12 Apr 2019).
LOVEJOY MUTONGWIZA 2019 "2018 Elections Were Unique- Govt", 263 Chat, 10 Apr, [www] https://www.263chat.com/2018-elections-were-unique-govt/ (accessed 12 Apr 2019).
ZBC 2019, "ZEC reflects on 2018 Harmonised Polls", 10 Apr, [www] http://www.zbc.co.zw/zec-reflects-on-2018-harmonised-polls/ (accessed 12 Apr 2019).
BULAWAYO24 2019 "Zec in 2018 poll diagnosis", 8 Apr, [www] https://bulawayo24.com/index-id-news-sc-national-byo-160085.html (accessed 12 Apr 2019).
ZIMEYE 2019 "Chigumba Says She Is Not Moved At All By Any Insults Or Criticism", 10 Apr, [www] https://www.zimeye.net/2019/04/10/chigumba-says-she-is-not-moved-at-all-by-any-insults-or-criticism/ (accessed 12 Apr 2019).
In line with the electoral assistance it provides to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), EISA is supporting the post- election review processes in Zimbabwe following the 30 July 2018 Harmonised elections. The post-election review process is thematically structured to ensure that all aspects of the electoral cycle are covered, outcomes identified, and lessons learnt to inform programming for the 2023 elections. To this end, EISA and the ZEC have organized two back-to-back workshops at which the performance of the media during the elections as well as the ZEC and civil society performance in voter education processes are being reviewed.
The first post-election review workshop was held for the media from 5 to 6 November 2018. Technically supported by EISA and the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), the workshop assessed the performance of the local and foreign print and electronic media in election reporting. The environment for election reporting including enabling regulation, access and security of the media was also assessed. Participants were editors and senior reporters from print and electronic media houses in Zimbabwe. Chapter 12 Constitutional Commissions (including ZEC) as well as statutory bodies such as the police and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) were also in attendance. The A total of 50 participants attended the media review workshop from which 12 where females.
The second workshop was organised in Kadoma, Zimbabwe on 8 to 9 November 2018. Besides providing space for stock-taking of the collaboration efforts between the ZEC and civil society organisations during the 2013-2018 election cycle, the workshop also served to assess the context within with voter education was rolled out, review materials used, impact and methodologies and to draw lessons for the future electoral process. Participants were drawn from ZEC Secretariat including the Executive Officers, Directors of Departments, Provincial Electoral Coordinators and electoral stakeholders including civil society organisations (CSOs) and faith based organisations (FBOs). A total of 56 participants comprising 37 males and 19 females attended the voter education workshop.
The workshops were made possible by financial support from the Europen Union.
EISA supported ZEC consultations with the media to achieve similar objectives as the meetings with political parties and CSOs. EISA and the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) supported the ZEC in holding two media training workshops on election reporting between May and June 2018. These workshops are a direct outcome of EISA's support to the collaboration and coordination of efforts by the Zimbabwe Constitutional Commissions (Chapter 12 Institutions). The workshops contributed to building improved working relations between the ZEC and the media fraternity by providing space for interaction about the role of the media and expectations that the media and the ZEC have of each other. Most importantly, the workshops enhanced the participants' understanding of the electoral process especially Election Day processes and procedures through a simulation exercise of an election day. Held as part of the media capacity building initiatives ahead of the 30 July 2018 elections, the workshops were attended by editors, senior reporters and radio presenters from print and electronic media houses in Zimbabwe.
EISA supported ZEC in holding regional meetings for CSOs in Bulawayo and Harare on 5 March 2018 and 8 May 2018 respectively. These meetings were attended by an average of 65 participants. ZEC used these meetings to engage CSOs (including faith based organisations) on the electoral processes and solicited their support in conducting voter education for both voter registration and inspection of provisional voters roll.
ZEC was supported in extending its stakeholder engagement to include statutory bodies, namely, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Zimbabwe Media Commission, the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and the Zimbabwe Republic Police. This aimed at strengthening collaborative and coordination efforts with these institutions as they discharge their election related mandates.
Various state and private media houses played a significant role of publicising the BVR rollout programme. Supported by EISA, ZEC conducted a media meeting on 14 December 2017, which provided a platform where issues around their strategic partnership and bridging the information gap were discussed. The meeting also discussed media coverage of the BVR programme. The meeting was attended by 46 representatives from different media outlets of which 10 were females.
EISA supported the ZEC-stakeholder engagement meetings held in Harare between 03 and 06 October 2017. The meetings took place in Harare (Northern region) with political parties representatives, media, civil society organisations (CSOs), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and in Bulawayo (Southern region) with FBOs and CSOs respectively. At these meetings the ZEC briefed stakeholder representatives on progress made on the registration of voters since 8 August, 2017 Presidential Proclamation of the new continuous voter registration and subsequent launch of the registration process on 14 September 2017.
The ZEC received a positive response to these meetings with 103 political parties, 53 CSOs, 25 FBOs and 16 media. EISA and other cooperating partners' were in attendance at this engagement and it is expected that the frequency of such meetings will increase as the electoral process unfolds.
ZEC has received a consignment of 2600 Biometric Voter Registration (BVR) kits from its supplier, Laxton Group of China. The delivery of these kits followed an earlier delivery of 400 kits that were used to train ZEC registration personnel Part of the consignment of 400 kits were deployed at static registration centres at provincial level since 14 September 2017.
The ZEC also shared a schedule of a four phased nation-wide voter registration campaign that will commence on 10 October 2017 and end on 19 December 2017 as follows:
The registration phases will be preceded by a voter education drive where ZEC Voter Educators will be deployed in each of the registration areas five days ahead of the registration. The criteria for the different phases includes, amongst others, weather conditions and accessibility., Phase one will be carried out ahead of the rainy season and in areas that are difficult to access during the rainy season. After the blitz the consolidated data will be cleaned using an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) to remove duplicate registrations. Thereafter, a provisional voters' roll will be printed for inspection by the electorate in the first quarter of 2018.
ZEC invited all stakeholders and individuals interested in observing the ongoing biometric voter registration (BVR) exercise to register with the Chief Elections Officer for accreditation.
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.
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.
The specific objectives of the conference are to:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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 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:
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.