ZESN Position Paper on Youth Participation in Elections and Governace Processes in Zimbabwe

Young people in Zimbabwe constitutes 67.7 percent (%) of the total population; their effective participation in electoral and governance processes remains a cornerstone to achieve sustainable inclusivity and enhanced civic engagement in politics. Young people around the world have suddenly realized their competitive advantage in changing the development of their nations, and this has been evident through the upsurge in street protests, and the use of online social platforms to connect, express their voices and campaign for change…more

ZESN Position Paper on Mechanisms to Increase the Representation of Women in Elections and Governance in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) notes that women in Zimbabwe continue to suffer from historical marginalisation and structural inequalities that exist in all spheres of life, including the governance arena. Even though some progress has been made in legislating the participation of women in elections and decision-making in Zimbabwe, including adopting a quota system in parliament, women’s participation in government at all levels, from the local to the national, remains extremely low and in some cases, has regressed…more

ZESN Position Paper on Election Dispute Resolution

This paper on Election Dispute Resolution (EDR) departs from the point that the electoral competition is often accompanied by disputes and tensions as political parties and candidates jostle for power. The subject of the paper, Zimbabwe has been experiencing election disputes and election-related conflicts especially since the emergence of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the late 1990s.  The antagonistic relationship between the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic Front (ZANU PF) and the MDC have extremely polarised the country with ripple effects on the electoral processes. The paper shows that the disputes and tensions arising from electoral competition must be managed so that they do not become either a source of violent conflict or escalators of an existing conflict…more

ZESN Position Paper on Coverage of Elections by the Media

The media’s performance in covering elections in Zimbabwe – in terms of professional conduct and quality reporting – has consistently fallen short of international, regional and local standards of good journalism. While the country’s electoral law and media regulations guide election related content, enforcement mechanisms to ensure compliance have been weak. The structure of the media, which lacks diversity and is dominated by media with links to the ruling party, and the conduct of media personnel as they gather news has also impacted on the nature of coverage…more

ZESN Position Paper on the Role of Traditional Leaders in Elections

This paper on the role of traditional leaders in elections and electoral processes in Zimbabwe depicts a picture of a traditional authority whose existence is held in tension between the citizen expectations for it to be a neutral vanguard of the traditions, customs and community development on the one hand and, the ruling elite’s demands for it to be loyal and serve the interest of the incumbent party. Despite this, and notwithstanding the political polarisation prevailing in Zimbabwe, the paper shows that there is a consensus in the literature on the institution of traditional leaders regarding its centrality to development at the local government level. In sharp contrast, there is a general opposition to the involvement of traditional leaders in elections and electoral processes. The Constitution is used as the point of reference and authority in this regard owing to its unequivocal provisions that bar traditional leaders from playing any role in elections…more

ZESN Position Paper on Diaspora Voting

The United Nations estimates there are close to 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from home by wars, economic hardships at home or work-related movements. The world is now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. In Zimbabwe, whilst official figures are not readily available, it is estimated that close to three million Zimbabweans reside outside the country. Past elections have disenfranchised significant proportions of these eligible voting population outside the country. Participation in elections for those in the diaspora is limited to a small section of the diaspora community thus excluding the larger population outside the country from participating in elections of their country…more

ZESN Position Paper on Results Management

Most disputes relating to elections in Zimbabwe are a result of disputes arising from contested election results. This has been a recurring electoral problem from one election to another and this paper seeks to unpack some of the issues giving rise to these electoral disputes centering around election results management. The paper discusses results management in general, results transmission and announcement specifically…more

ZESN Position Paper on the Independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

The independence of an Electoral Management Body (EMB) is regarded as one of the most important pre-conditions to a credible and acceptable election. Yet achieving universally acceptable levels of independence has proven difficult for most electoral jurisdictions globally. In Zimbabwe, electoral contestations continue to be blighted by disputes emanating from real and perceived questions over the degree of independence of the electoral administration body..more

ZESN Postion Paper on Political Party Regulation in Zimbabwe

The centrality of political parties to democracy in Zimbabwe is unanimously acknowledged. However, this paper highlights the contradiction where political parties that have glaring capacity deficits expect that everything around them has to change to meet their expectations while they continue to operate the same way. That it, parties expect to be funded by the state, demand constitutional and electoral reforms yet remain silent on the pragmatics of how they too need to comply with the formal rules. The absence of a legislation regulating political parties in Zimbabwe is identified as the major problem. Consequently, the country is faced with challenges of election related disputes and conflict, volatile party system and lack of political party accountability. Furthermore, this is blamed for the administrative challenges that beset the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) during elections…more

ZESN Position Paper on Political Parties Financing

As the influence of money in politics increases worldwide, there is a growing awareness among election stakeholders including state authorities, political parties, media and civil society of the need political finance reform, encompassing both political party finance and campaign finance. However, while regional and international standards require states to adopt measures to ensure transparency in political finance, in order to promote a level playing field for elections and prevent political corruption, the development of regulatory frameworks, as well as their effective implementation and enforcement, remain a global challenge…more