ZESN COMMEMORATES INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE

As we celebrate the International Day of Peace, running under this year’s theme, End racism. Build peace,” the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) implores all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful environment ahead of the 2023 Harmonized elections as part of efforts to enhance electoral integrity.

 

The International Day of Peace or Peace Day is observed around the World annually on 21 September. Established in 1981 by a unanimous United Nations resolution, Peace Day provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.

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ZESN COMMEMORATES INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DEMOCRACY

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) joins Zimbabwe and the World at large in commemorating the International Day of Democracy on this 15th day of September 2022 running under the theme, “Media freedom.” Democracy Day is celebrated annually to review the state of democracy in the world and uphold and promote democracy and its principles.

This day comes amid concerns on upholding and promoting media freedoms across the globe while at the same ensuring the safety of journalists and media practitioners from attacks such as assault, lawsuits, arbitrary arrests and detention, and incarceration that are unfavourable to freedom of expression.

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Zimbabwe Election Support Network Ballot Newsletter- Elections Bulletin Issue 03

AS the country gears up for the 2023 harmonized elections, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) convened a virtual training workshop for 41 freelance journalists on 13 June 2022 to strengthen their capacities on election reporting as well as raise awareness on key electoral processes. The chief objective of the training workshop dubbed “Media training on electoral processes” was to equip them with knowledge of aspects of the whole electoral cycle and ensure that their reportage covers beyond polling day activities only.

In her opening remarks, the Acting ZESN Executive Director, Ellen Dingani, underscored the imperative role the media play as important electoral stakeholders in educating the masses on voter and political rights which in turn
allows citizens to participate in electoral processes and make informed decisions.

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Zimbabwe Election Support Network Ballot Newsletter- Elections Bulletin

AS Zimbabwe heads towards the 2023 elections, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has launched an alert button to prioritise the safety of journalists as temperatures heat up. While there were no reported cases of physical attacks against media practitioners ahead of the March 26 by-elections, there are fears over their safety to ensure access to election related information. “We realize that media practitioners always collect, or always have in custody critical information that is part of their news, part of dissemination but also information that they get from their sources hence the issue of confidentiality is very important about the protection of their devices and the protection of their documents,” MISA- Zimbabwe Legal ICT Policy Ocer Nompilo Simanje said.

During elections, journalists frequently cover rallies, campaign events, and protests which can increase their risk of being attacked, harassed, and detained. Journalists may be required to report in areas or communities that are hostile to the media or outsiders. This can happen if a community perceives that the media does not fairly represent them or portrays them in a negative light.

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ZESN MEMBERS ELECT A NEW BOARD DURING ITS 22ND ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a group of 37 non-governmental
organisations working to promote democratic elections in Zimbabwe held its 22nd Annual General Meeting where
it re-elected Mr Andrew Makoni as the Chairperson and Mr Dumisani Nkomo as the Vice-Chairperson. Both Mr
Makoni and Mr Nkomo’s nominations were uncontested and therefore duly elected.

Other organisations elected to be represented in the ZESN Board are; Albino Trust Zimbabwe (ATZ),
Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association (CAMERRA), Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe (EFZ), Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe (CAZ), Media Monitors (MM), Catholic Commission for
Justice and Peace (CCJP), Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), and the Youth
Empowerment and Transformation Trust (YETT).

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ZESN AND ERC Report on Phase 2 of Voter Registration April 11 – 30, 2022

As a build-up towards gathering credible information on the second phase of the voter registration
process and as part of the commitment to support democratic development and promote credible,
transparent and accountable electoral processes in Zimbabwe; the Election Resource Centre (ERC)
and Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) observed the second phase of the BVR blitz on
an independent and nonpartisan basis for all Zimbabweans. The joint observation effort served to
provide citizens and key stakeholders with accurate, independent, timely, and credible information
on the BVR blitz process. ERC and ZESN’s further objective was to ensure the 2022 BVR blitz
exercise was transparent, inclusive, and accountable as well as in conformity with regional and
international best practices.

Before the commencement of the phase 2 Registration Blitz, the Registrar General, began a
National Identity Document (ID card) issuance blitz on 01 April 2022. This was 10 days before
the second BVR blitz which was to begin on 11 April 2022. The national ID blitz will run until
September 2022 in all provinces across the country. A national ID is an important document for
one to register as a voter during the voter registration process. ERC, ZESN and other stakeholders
contend that without the issuance of IDs a large group of eligible Zimbabweans will be
disenfranchised

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ELECTORAL REFORMS TRACKING REPORT- AUGUST 2021- JANUARY 2022

The Electoral Reforms Tracking Report covers the period from 1 August to 31 January 2022. The repot consists of a record of socio-political developments relevant to electoral matters and the electoral environment. The report registers both positive and negative changes in so far as they are relevant to the electoral playing field and related matters.

It is  noted that like most of the world, Zimbabwe has been under COVID-19 regulatory frameworks since the declaration of the health challenge as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The regulatory framework put in place to deal with the pandemic has had an impact on several election related issues, including basic rights such as the right and freedom of association, petition, etc.

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ZESN PRELIMINARY STATEMENT OF THE MAY 7 2022 BYELECTIONS

In line with its mission to promote democratic elections in
Zimbabwe, ZESN observed local authority by-elections in the Chitungwiza Ward 7, Mutare
Ward 14 and 16, Rusape Ward 5, Pfura Ward 40, Kariba Ward 3, 4 and 8 as well as at the
Ward Collation Centres. The by-election were held in accordance with Section 121 A of the
Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) following the death of the incumbent Pfura Ward 40 Councillor
Doniah Jeke and the recalls of Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi of Ward 14; Chitungwiza
Mayor Lovemore Maiko of Ward 7; Kariba Mayor George Masendu of Ward 4; Councillors
Farai Magevha of Ward 3 and Pedzisai Munhuweyi of Ward 8 and Mutare Ward 16
Councillor Sekai Catherine Mukodza; by the MDC Alliance.

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ZESN SITUATIONAL STATEMENT ON THE MAY 7 2022 BY-ELECTION OBSERVATIONS

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network has deployed 8 static observers in Chitungwiza Ward
7, Mutare Ward 14 & 16, Rusape Ward 5, Pfura Ward 40, Kariba Ward 3, 4 & 8 as well as observers at the Ward
Collation Centres in the local authority by-election. The by-election is being held in accordance with Section 121
A of the Electoral Act (Chapter 2:13) following the death of the incumbent Pfura Ward 40 Councillor Doniah
Jeke and the recalls of Mutare Mayor Blessing Tandi of Ward 14; Chitungwiza Mayor Lovemore Maiko of Ward
7; Kariba Mayor George Masendu of Ward 4; Councillors Farai Magevha of Ward 3 and Pedzisai Munhuweyi of
Ward 8 and Mutare Ward 16 Councillor Sekai Catherine Mukodza; who were elected under the MDC Alliance
Party were recalled from their respective local authorities and are contesting in the by-election under the Citizens
Coalition for Change (CCC) Party.

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REPORT ON THE 26 MARCH BY-ElECTIONS

Zimbabwe held by-elections to fill in vacancies in the National Assembly and Local Authorities
on 26 March 2022. The seats fell vacant mostly as a result of recalls that ensued following
internal party squabbles within the main opposition, the MDC Alliance that were settled by the
courts. Table 1 below shows the causes of the occurrence of vacancies in National Assembly
constituencies where by-elections were held. Contrary to what would ordinarily happen, the
by-elections were held long after the lapse of the 90-day period within which vacancies should
be constitutionally filled in. This was because of the indefinite suspension of by-elections by the
government on account of the COVID-19 pandemic and in spite of the opening of other sectors
of the country and resumption of other activities such as physical church gatherings, reopening
of schools, restaurants, bars and other public facilities.

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