1. What is ZESN?
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) is a coalition of 36 non-governmental organisations. It was formed in 2000 to co-ordinate activities pertaining to elections. The major focus of the Network is to promote democratic processes in general and free and fair elections in particular.
It was also established to standardise the NGOs election related activities and methodology as well as to ensure wider geographical coverage and co-ordination of activities. The broad aim of the Network is therefore to enhance the election process in Zimbabwe in order to promote democracy and good governance in general as well as free and fair elections in particular whilst adhering to internationally acceptable standards.
2. What is ZESN’s mission, vision and objectives?
ZESN’s vision is to promote the establishment and upholding of a democratic electoral environment and processes.
The mission of the organisation is to promote democratic elections in Zimbabwe.
The overall objectives that ZESN pursues are:
· To enhance citizen participation in issues of governance and democracy.
· To promote democratic free and fair electoral processes through objectively and impartially monitoring and observing elections.
· To promote the creation of a legal framework and an election culture conducive for free and fair elections.
· To effectively gather, disseminate and communicate objective information about elections and other democratic processes.
3. Do you think as an organisation you are achieving your objectives or it is just an employment creation for yourselves?
We have done tremendous work on advocating for electoral reforms some of which have formed the basis of some electoral legislation that we have in the country today. We have also raised awareness on voter registration, inspection of the voter’s and other electoral administrative activities through community workshops, public meetings, posters, fliers, print and broadcasting media.
We have also observed elections in Zimbabwe over the past years and produced reports that a lot of stakeholders have found useful and invaluable in policy review and recommendations.
4. What are ZESN’s programmes and major activities?
In order to achieve our objectives, members of the Network are grouped into taskforces, which implement activities all over the country with secretariat coordinating the work.
We focus on the 5 major areas, which are as follows;
· Election Monitoring and Observation
· Research and Advocacy
· Media and Information
· Networking and Capacity Building
5. Do you think your organisation is relevant and add value to the democratisation of Zimbabwe?
– Yes see 3 above.
6. Who funds ZESN?
The organisation is 100 % donor funded by both local and international funding partners.
7. Is ZESN part of any political party?
8. What about your members who are politically affiliated
The organisation does not prohibit members to be politically affiliated but when doing ZESN activities all members should be non-partisan when working under the banner of ZESN
9. What is the role of ZESN members?
ZESN members of the Network form taskforces, which provide volunteers who help in implementing activities, geared towards achieving our objectives. We also exploit on the diversified skills and resources obtaining among our members.
10. Can you outline ZESN’s organisational structure?
ZESN has a secretariat team led by the National Director who reports to the Management Committee. We also have taskforces whose Chairpersons sit in the Management Committee, which reports to the Board and the Board reports to the AGM..
11. What is the role of the ZESN board?
The Board formulates policy and oversees its implementation.
12. What are the taskforces and their roles?
They help secretariat in implementing programme activities.
13. What is the role of the secretariat?
The day to day coordination and implementation of ZESN’s activity to achieve the organisation’s goals and objectives.
14. In what ways are you different from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission?
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is a constitutional body while ZESN is a non-governmental organisation. Our role is to observe elections and election related activities with a view towards advocating for a free and fair electoral process in Zimbabwe, while ZEC is the electoral management body in charge of running the elections.
15. What is your relationship with ZEC, government, political parties?
ZESN has a professional working relationship with the aforementioned, which is based on ZESN’s principles of promoting democratic elections in Zimbabwe.
16. Is ZESN apolitical?
17. Then how do you explain your involvement in the Save Zimbabwe campaign, which is seen as an opposition political outfit?
We are not a member of Save Zimbabwe Campaign and where it seemed our roles converge it is only when SZC does activities directly linked to the promotion of democratic elections and processes. ZESN works with any stakeholder who endevours to promote democratic processes related to elections. As such we are observing the SZC as a democratic process within the country.
18. Are you saying you are not part of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign?
19. Why is Zanu Pf not part of the Save Zimbabwe campaign?
As ZESN we cannot speak on their behalf. ZANU PF or SZC can best answer such a question.
20. What are your minimum conditions for free and fair elections?
See link: https://www.zesn.org.zw/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Free-and-fair-elections.pdf
21. What would be your position if the conditions are not met?
Our position will remain the same. We will continue to promote for democratic electoral processes in Zimbabwe.
22. What is ZESN’s state of preparedness in light of the 2018 elections?
ZESN is prepared to observe the elections in 2018 as and when they are held. The organisation is currently training long-term and short-term observers and have already embarked on massive public outreach programmes to promote popular participation in the election.
23. How many observers do you intend to field in the 2018 elections?
At least one observer at every polling station.
24. Which regional and international observer groups are you working with, and what are their roles?
We have observed elections in Africa under auspices of the African Union, the SADC PF, the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) and we also work with SADC Parliamentary Forum, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Fair Election Monitoring Alliance (FEMA), Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) among others in information sharing.