The independence of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (hereafter, “the Commission”) is a critical issue in the management and conduct of elections. It has the role of the umpire in the elections and for that reason must exercise its powers fairly and impartially treating each contestant equally and without fear or favour. Unfortunately, the Commission and its predecessor, the Electoral Supervisory…… …. : more
It is obvious that the media plays an influential role in modern politics. In addition to the traditional electronic and print media, the internet has become a powerful tool for information dissemination, as evidenced by the reported role of social networking…. …. : more
Postal voting: Govt must be pro-active
THERE are ways to vote for persons who cannot be present personally in their constituencies and wards on the designated voting days. The more traditional way is postal voting, and the other is special voting. This article analyses both and makes recommendations for their broader use to increase access to eligible voters……… : more
Reduce Political Interference in the Accreditation of Election Observers
The credibility of an election is determined not only by the propriety with which the voting process is carried out but also by the certificate of legitimacy conferred upon it by independent election observers. Recognising the critical role of observers in elections, the regional body…….. : more
Zambia elections – lessons for Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network sent a 15 member mission to observe Zambia‘s tripartite elections held on the 20th of September 2011. The objectives of the mission were multifaceted and included; to observe the Zambia’s electoral processes, to explore and understand civil society initiatives within and around the electoral process. Lastly, the mission sought to glean lessons and insights to inform Zimbabweans as we prepare for the referendum and the general elections in the future….. : more
Zambia elections – lessons for Zimbabwe
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Voting by Illiterate or Handicapped Voters
Whilst the Constitution of Zimbabwe contains provisions to prevent discrimination on grounds of disability, the electoral laws have not always adequately covered the rights of the visually and physically handicapped. This is, of course, part of a wider societal problem and both the state and private sector should do more to enable…….. : more
Electoral Law Must Prohibit State Officials’ Public Statements
Elections in Zimbabwe have always been marred by acts of violence and intimidation. As far back as 1980, when Zimbabwe held its first democratic elections, there were complaints of violence and intimidation. At the time, the euphoria brought by independence overshadowed the violence that had taken place. Although…….. : more
Opportunity and Risk in the Proposed Polling Station-Based
One of the major features of the proposed electoral reforms is the possible introduction of a localised voting system which will be conducted using polling station-based voters’ rolls. This means a voter will only vote at the polling-station at which his or her name appears on the voters’ roll. This is significantly different from the present system whereby voters can vote at any polling station within the ward…….. : more
Ballot Update, Issue no 15 September 2010
The month under review saw elections remain high on the political agenda as evidence by various media reports on Zimbabwe’s readiness for elections and the subsequent instruction by President Mugabe to “budget for elections in 2011”. In addition, COPAC concluded the constitutional Reform Outreach process in most parts of the country except for Harare. Harare witnessed open……. : more
An analysis of Electoral reforms agreed to by parties to the GPA and the newly constituted Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
In 2008, Zimbabweans welcomed the signing of the Global Political Agreement between the three political parties in Zimbabwe namely MDC (T), MDC (M) and ZANU PF. This agreement has led to considerable peace and stabilityin Zimbabwe. While the agreement was a positive development, its implementation has …. : more
Summary of Electoral Reform Proposals
Some amendments were made to the Electoral Act in the prior to March 2008 e.g. requiring posting of election results outside polling stations and constituency tabulation centres………… : more
Zesn Position Paper On The Funding Of Political Parties In Zimbabwe 2009
The financing of political parties is generally considered to be one of the critical factors for the success of multiparty democracy. In the case of the public funding of political parties, Friedman states that…………… : more
Priority Areas for Electoral Reforms in View of Impending By- Elections and Constitutional Referendum
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network has proposed a series of further reforms to the electoral laws of Zimbabwe. However while all of these changes should be put in place prior to the holding of………………… : more
Summary of Strengths and Weaknesses of Electoral Systems
Summary of strengths and weaknesses of electoral systems…. : more
Electoral Systems Reforms-Which way for Zimbabwe?
Post election conflicts currently bedeviling Zimbabwe have generated fundamental questions about the extent to which winner-take-all Fast Past the Post electoral frameworks are still relevant in Zimbabwe……………….. : more
Systems of Governance: What options for Zimbabwe?
Systems of Governance are sets of political institutions by which governments are organized in order to exert power over body politics. ……………. : more
System of Representation
The system of representation is the method of transferring votes into seats in a parliament or an assembly. There are a number of alternative systems being used…. : more
Special Voting Procedures: Which Way for Zimbabwe?
Voting is every citizen’s right. No eligible national citizen should be deprived of registration or the right to vote as a result of being homeless, ill, out of the country, in prison……….. : more
Special Voting Procedures: Which Way For Zimbabwe?
Voting is every citizen’s right. No eligible national citizen should be deprived of registration or the right to vote as a result of being homeless, ill, out of the country, in prison……………. : more
Electoral Management Bodies
Sound management is critical to the success of any election process hence increasing calls across the world for constitutionally established and professionally run bodies called Election Management Bodies [EMBs]…………. : more
30 – 31 July 2008 – National Workshop on Conflict Management Mechanisms
Taking cognisant of the current political developments and the need for further electoral reforms in Zimbabwe, participants of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network’s National Workshop on Electoral Conflict Management and Electoral Reform resolved as follows:…. : more
Electoral Systems Should Ensure Women Get Fair Representation
Fundamental to understanding the repression, exclusion and general oppression of women is the need to understand how systems the world over, political, social and economic, have contributed to the subjugation of women. And any form of movement, feminist or otherwise, that seeks to fully subvert the subservient position that women find themselves in, has to initially deal with the idea of grounding understanding of this oppression in theory and practice. It is in light of this that electoral systems have to be choreographed in a manner that ensures women get fair representation….. : more
Sierra Leone Elections An Example Of The Elections We Want
The recent presidential and parliamentary elections in Sierra Leone on 11 August 2007 where the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), under the auspices of the African Union (AU) and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI) send some observers, were an eye opener and a living testimony of how other African countries have evolved democratically. Most importantly, the Sierra Leone elections exhibited the gateway to electoral credibility in a country whose previous elections were littered with irregularities. This was Sierra Leone’s first post conflict election managed by a local electoral management body after the 2002 which was managed by the United Nations….. : more
ZEC Must Protect People’s Rights To Enrol And Vote
THE on-going voter registration exercise should, ideally, be the first step towards ensuring popular participation in governance issues by all citizens who are 18 years and above. When implemented transparently and with wide consultation, the exercise should form the basis on which a country can build or consolidate its mutation into a full democracy. This therefore, requires that the exercise of registering new voters and updating of information on those already registered be a transparent, thorough and democratic endeavour absolved from the pitfalls of negligent workmanship, electoral chicanery or any cosmetic and superficial “renovations” that seek to portray the system as normal when, in fact, it is not. …. : more
Even free and fair elections need to be monitored
Long-term election monitoring refers to the systematic observation over a period of time prior to, and after an election process, to assess different aspects of the electoral process in order to provide an independent evaluation of its fairness. This process enables election observer groups to make an objective assessment of the environment under which the elections are held….. : more
Delimitation in Zimbabwe
The Constitution Amendment Bill Number 18 that is before parliament is seeking, for the first time in the history of the country, to mandate an electoral management body (EMB), the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), to mark constituency boundaries….. : more
Zimbabwe Needs An Electoral System Capable Of Healing Political Wounds
Judging from past events, the Zimbabwe political landscape is a minefield that has generated acrimonious relations between the two major political parties in Zimbabwe, ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Pre-election violence, accusations and counter-accusations of electoral fraud and litigations have characterised the elections in Zimbabwe since 2000. Such a political climate calls for an electoral process capable of healing the wounds resultant of the political tension obtaining in the country since the dawning of the new millennium….. : more
Amendment 18 Silent On Many Critical Issues
WHILE there is the provision in Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill 2007 that, for the first time in the history of constituency delimitation in the country, parliament would be presented with the preliminary report for consideration, we have noted, with interest, that the Bill is quite inexplicit on various issues that pertain to the delimitation exercise.
Zimbabwe: A Culture Of Electoral Fraud, A Paper Presented By ZESN At The Zambia SADC Summit 13-14 August 2007.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the holding of periodic, free and fair elections form part of the basic tenets of democratic practices and good governance. Our participation in the electoral processes, as civic bodies should therefore be looked at as a human right as well as a commitment to a calling that, as civil society, we should heed to. This summit comes at a time when Zimbabwe is undergoing a lot of challenges, political, social and economic, but most importantly, at a time when the country is preparing for yet another major election-the harmonised presidential, parliamentary and senatorial elections. Given such a background, it is important that I give you an update on what is going on in the country in view of the forthcoming elections. It is my wish that the summit would, after this presentation, come up with recommendations, suggestions and general advice on how best the civil society would ensure their effective participation in the electoral process. Let me begin by going historical….. : more
Building Democracy Through Women Participation In Elections.
I am glad to have an opportunity to talk about women participation in elections as a way of building democracy. As a starting point, there is need to critically look at the key words on the subject of this presentation-democracy and participation. But before we do that, lets have a bit of background information on the gender representation in our parliament and the various conventions and protocols that we are signatory to, which outlaw the discrimination of women. …. : more
Managing Election-related Conflicts in Zimbabwe
It is not the lack of rains that pose a threat to regional peace in Southern Africa but it is a drought of good governance that is much more difficult because you have neighbours like Zimbabwe.” Botswana President Festus Mogae. So the Zimbabwe crisis is a regional crisis.
The Real Crisis In Zimbabwe
I know I am supposed to speak about the achievements and challenges faced by my organisation in its quest to promote democratic, free and fair elections. But since the Zimbabwean situation is unique in the region, I will adopt an almost different approach to presenting the challenges and achievements that my organisation has scored in its endeavour to ensuring democratic, free and fair elections in the country. By outlining the Zimbabwe situation, I will implicitly address the part of the presentation that requires me to talk of the challenges faced by movements that seek to promote democracy in the country. Because of the many reports that have been, so far, doing rounds on Zimbabwe, the situation in the country, to those from without, is confusing, if not convoluted. It therefore calls me to explain the crisis….. : more
Managing Election-related Conflicts in Zimbabwe
The issue of disputed election outcomes is not a new phenomenon to countries that have carried out periodic elections to elect new governments after particular periods as stipulated by those countries’ constitutions or any guiding governance documents. Managing such conflicts has always been a challenge. Often some of these conflicts have degenerated into outright physical confrontations in the form of military surges, genocides and other forms of physical conflict capable of killing or maiming those caught up in the conflict. Zimbabwe is a good example of a country torn apart by a conflict that is election-related. Allow me ladies and gentlemen, to give background to the Zimbabwe Crisis….. : more
Election Observation: A Gender Perspective
Election observation is a valuable tool for improving the quality of elections and helps build public confidence in the honesty of electoral processes. It can highlight on possible areas where the electoral process could be flawed thereby helping to promote the civil and political rights of participants. …. : more
Electoral Conflict Management Mechanisms
There are several causes of election related conflicts, some of which are directly related to the administration of the process, but in many instances simmering political tensions experienced during the in-between elections find expression during election periods. In order for credible and legitimate elections to take place, especially in a post-conflict society or in a country that is plagued by political conflict it is critically important that the constitutional and legislative framework for the elections are clearly spelt out in the Constitution and the electoral laws and regulations. It is also necessary that the framework appropriately reflects the material conditions of the country rather than creating benchmarks that are totally unattainable for any of the contesting parties. For example, in a country where the society is polarized, it is particularly important that a level playing field is secured, through legislation, for all parties to have access to the electorate in order to campaign without fear of reprisals and without “no-go” areas….. : more
Regulation Of Political Parties Zimbabwe: Registration, Finance And Other Support
The now defunct Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) in its valedictory report on the Senatorial elections and the Gutu House of Assembly by-election of November 2005 notes that the absence of laws for the registration of political parties had led to the emergence of ‘fly-by-night’ political parties. It then recommended that to curb this tendency, political parties should be formally registered….. : more
Democratizing elections and institutions in Zimbabwe
Democratising Elections and Institutions in Africa
The Struggle For Democracy In Kenya Through The Electoral Process
It is a great honour and privilege to get this opportunity to share our thoughts and experiences from Kenya with you. I had been asked to write and make a presentation on “Presidentialism and Constitutionalism in Africa: ‘Third Term’ Phenomenon/Extension of Tenure: The Kenyan Experience.” …. : more
“Enhancing The Independence And Roles Of National Electoral Institutions”
Despite the differences observed here and there in the practice of conducting elections over the years from one country to the next, the convergence of various democratic traditions have given rise to what may be considered the norms and standards of election management….. : more
Role of parliament in electoral reform
The electoral reform process is a permanent feature of any democratic society. Each country is unique and as such will implement reforms, which take into account its political realities. …. : more
Presidentialism and Constitutionalism in Africa: “Third Term” phenomenon/ extension of tenure; the Zambian experience
Constitutional developments that have taken place in Africa are mainly seen in the context of the colonial constitutions. It is trite to conclude that although Africa has posted several positive constitutional developments during the post colonial period, there have also been major erosions, reversals and general developments that have occurred which have tended to undermine the struggle for progressive constitutionalism. …. : more
Gender perspectives
On November 3, 1992 when a young Bill Clinton heard that he had won the elections as the new president of USA one of the things he said to his wife was… “Had the world been a better and fairer place you would have been the one celebrating this presidency today, because you are better suited for the job than me……. : more
Electoral Systems and Processes in Africa: Towards Reform
Having been a keen observer of democratization in Africa and watched several elections over the years, I wish to make the following observations before addressing the issue of reforming the electoral system and processes in Africa….. : more
Electoral Processes and Democratization in Southern Africa: Achievements and Challenges Using Norms, Standards and Principles
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Electoral Conflict Management
Electoral Conflict Management Mechanisms: Lessons from Southern Africa The Case of RDC
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Elections And Democracy In Southern Africa
Election Disputes An International Dimension
Most election disputes are differences between eligible individuals or organisations over rights or obligations relating to their participation in the organisation or conduct of elections…..
Constitutionalism and Presidentialism in Africa presentation
Collusion, Collaboration or Confusion? Pan African and regional Electoral Law and Politics as a standard for African nation-states
Has electoral law and practice ever been the subject of normative consensus? …. : more
Achievements and Challenges in using Principles for Election Management, Monitoring and Observation in the SADC Region (PEMMO)
Submission To The Public Hearing Of Portfolio Committee On Public Service, Labour And Social Welfare On The Ngo Bill
Civic society has always been involved in governance issues. Indeed, in 1995, owing to pressure from civic society, the Government amended Electoral Regulations [Electoral (Amendment) Regulations 1/95, Statutory Instrument 70/95] and included civic society as election monitors. Thereafter in 2000, the Government promulgated the Electoral (Amendment) Regulations 7/2000 Statutory Instrument 161A/2000, which set out the qualifications for monitors and drew a distinction between “monitor” and “observer”. The promulgation of the various instruments thus permitted civic society to fully participate in governance issues. Statutory Instrument 41B/2002 puts provisions for the Electoral Supervisory Commission to accredit observers from civic society organisations through the Accreditation Committee. …. : more
The Zimabwe Electoral Commission Bill (HB 18,2004) : A Commentary
A democratic system of governance is a system in which the people elect the government and, if they are dissatisfied with its performance, can vote it out of power at the next election and replace it with a new government. In such systems there is equal and universal adult suffrage.One of the most important democratic rights is the right of the people to freely choose who will govern the country. Linked to this, those who aspire to govern must be able to campaign freely and to try to persuade voters to vote them into power….. : more
Electoral Bill, 2004: Draft Act Proposed By Zesn
This draft Act will repeal and replace the existing Electoral Act [Chapter 2:01]. This new Act will alter the previous Act in a number of respects that are summarised below. This draft Act must be read together with other draft legislation produced by ZESN, namely a draft containing proposed provisions in the Constitution relating to the composition of Parliament and electoral matters and a draft Independent Electoral Commission Act. …. : more
A critique of SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and Election Observation missions
The SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections provide a useful set of standards to judge whether a particular country has conducted elections that are free and fair, They will only be useful, however, if they are fully implemented….. : more