Letters to the Editor: The worrying slowness of electoral reforms
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) monitored the government’s progress in implementing electoral reforms based on recommendations made by local, regional and international election observation missions for the 2018 harmonized elections.
Notably, the Parliament adopted and the President approved the Constitutional Amendment Law number 2, which extended the quota of women in the National Assembly by an additional 10 years, introduced a quota of 30% of women in local government and provided a quota for 10 young people in the National Assembly on a party list basis and five young women in the current quota of women.
While Constitutional Amendment Law No. 2 extended the quota for women for another 10 years, introduced a 30% quota for women in local government, Zesn believes that, in particular, this amounts to a change .
However, gender parity is unlikely to be achieved in the 2023 elections based on this electoral framework.
Regarding youth participation, the amendment now provides for a youth quota system.
Although the constitutional change guarantees certain young representatives in the National Assembly, it seems that the number of representatives foreseen in the amendment has not been informed by a scientific approach or meaningful consultations with the young people concerned.
The quota contradicts the demographics of the population and official statistics on voter registration and participation.
Also, while the amendment mentioned people with disabilities (PwD), it lacked details for implementation.
The Zimbabwe Gender Commission has adopted a policy on gender and inclusion, although this is a positive development, it cannot be enforced as law.
In the absence of a clearer and more effective legal framework on the inclusion of women, youth and people with disabilities, it seems that these changes will remain symbolic symbols that will not meet the values ââof the 2013 Constitution on these. Questions.
In addition, some of the critical reforms that have not been addressed include strengthening the independence of the Zimbabwe Election Commission (Zec), revising legal provisions regarding voter registration and the voters list; voter education and election observation; strengthen results management arrangements to improve transparency, reduce suspicion and challenge of results; streamline electoral dispute resolution mechanisms, domesticate the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance; improving electoral administration through clearer legal provisions and electoral practices; review the provisions relating to the registration and regulation of political parties; establish a clear legal provision around the delimitation of electoral constituencies; implement the provisions of article 287 of the Constitution on integrity and ethics on the role of traditional leaders in elections; the right to vote and the inclusion of women, youth and persons with disabilities in electoral and governance processes as well as in political representation; standardization of the rules of the electoral game and improvement of the political environment among other administrative electoral reforms which do not require any modification of electoral laws.
Media law and political reforms remain in limbo despite Zec’s regulatory powers over the media during election periods.
There has been no change in the legal framework for media monitoring of Zec based on the experiences of the previous elections.
Zesn noted the issuance of new broadcasting and television licenses that have resulted in a plurality of actors, concerns are the feelings of key electoral actors that the stations remain appendages of the state and that the country risks perpetuating coverage. media biased elections. , which is anathema to democracy.
Zesn calls on the government to speed up the implementation of electoral reforms, as most have not been followed up as Zimbabwe is barely two years away from another round of harmonized elections in 2023.
If addressed quickly, the reforms will contribute to a credible electoral process. It is not in the interests of democracy to change the electoral law on the eve of an election, as has been the case in the past.
Zesn will continue to monitor and follow the implementation of electoral reforms as part of his efforts to promote and strengthen democratic electoral processes in Zimbabwe. –Zesn
Oil exploration companies fuel conflict in northern Muzarabani
COMMUNITY members who are part of Heal Zimbabwe’s Community Peace Clubs (CPCs) noted that companies exploring for oil and gas fuel conflict in northern Muzarabani.
This happened during a CPC brainstorming meeting led by communities working with Heal Zimbabwe in Muzarabani North on September 27, 2021.
Participants noted that since the reports of oil and gas discoveries in the area, the community has witnessed an increase in tensions and conflicts.
One example is that of the village chief Muchedzi, who was dismissed by Zanu PF activists after hiring the companies and underlining the need for them to also consult members of the community before any displacement.
âIf you try to emphasize that these companies have to hire us first, you are labeled anti-development and sold off. The case of village chief Muchedzi serves to highlight the consequences of denouncing injustice, âsaid one participant.
The meeting also noted that in some cases these mining companies have created gravel roads where graves are located, which has angered community members.
Other issues that emerged from the meeting included the politicization of employment opportunities by Zanu PF Vice President Denshot Mazarura and Ward 6 Councilor Norman Chizeya.
These two individuals handpick for jobs in oil companies on the basis of their political affiliation.
As part of the resolutions, CPCs decided to continue documenting and reporting cases of human rights violations to responsible institutions and to continue to mediate conflicts with the aim of strengthening social cohesion in local communities.
Heal Zimbabwe meetings are part of efforts to empower local communities to help them guard against human rights violations and build peaceful communities.
Heal Zimbabwe uses various strategies to resolve conflicts in local communities.
One of these is the use of community dialogues, an initiative for communities to discuss and collectively identify ways in which they can come up with solutions to their communities’ problems.
The platforms also provide communities with relevant information on COVID-19, gender-based violence and human rights.
Such platforms also facilitate conversations at the local level about issues affecting communities and create socially cohesive communities. –Heal Zimbabwe Trust
New portal set to drive SDGs in Africa
SEVENTEEN UN entities under the African Regional Collaborative Platform have launched an online data portal, the first of its kind on the continent, to measure and assess progress in achieving development goals sustainable (SDG).
The platform will serve as a one-stop-shop repository that will collect data and evidence on the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs from all African countries and raise the profile of statistical progress towards the African Union’s vision, Agenda 2063.
The African Regional Collaborative Platform divides the 17 SDGs into 169 targets and 231 indicators, allowing interested parties to monitor progress at all levels.
With barely nine years to achieve the SDGs, the use of common and harmonized data is essential to accelerate progress.
The launch of this new platform marks an important step in the action towards Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
Reliable and collective data will enable all actors to take the best possible evidence-based policy action to accelerate the SDGs, strengthen collaboration, avoid unnecessary duplication and ensure that we can close the gaps, leaving really no one behind. next to.
According to statisticians from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, among the 169 targets set in the SDGs, only 30% of them are quantifiable.
For the rest of the non-quantifiable goals, the online platform offers target values ââusing a pragmatic and ambitious approach. It identifies outstanding countries in the region and sets their average rate of change as the region’s target rate.
Presenting comprehensive and practical datasets will particularly help government and officials to monitor progress, make informed decisions, and assess results and impacts.
This data platform is a highly anticipated online tool for performing in-depth analyzes and assessments of progress on targets and indicators, and linking them to national development plans.
The new data engine also gives users the ability to categorize statistics according to various dimensions, such as the eight regional economic communities recognized by the African Union, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and producer states. petroleum and rich in minerals. In addition, it repackages the data by key thematic questions.
Users can categorize the SDG indicators by agriculture, energy and health, allowing them not only to analyze specific progress at the country level, but also to examine the convergence, similarities and differences between a variety of blocks. and sub-regional topics.
Timely and disaggregated data is essential to guide targeted investments and ensure the desired returns in terms of human capital development, environmental sustainability, economic transformation and prosperity for all.
The data portal should be used in SDG progress reports and other sustainable development documents and can also be used to prepare speeches and presentations for senior leaders of governments and institutions as well as to stimulate political conversations. . –African