Residents Associations from across the country have embarked on a voter mobilization drive that seeks to target youths, women, people living with disabilities as well as first time voters ahead of the 2023 elections.
The voter mobilization drive is being coordinated by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA).
Below, we present a Communiqué by the Residents Associations;
COMMUNIQUE OF THE RESIDENTS ASSOCIATIONS COALITION MEETING ON VOTER MOBILIZATION
Residents Associations from different parts of Zimbabwe convened on the 16th of September 2021 to deliberate on ways through which residents associations can strengthen their coordination and empower citizens in advocating for quality social service delivery, electoral reforms as well as influence public discourse around elections.
1. The meeting acknowledged the need to build citizen agency in terms of advocacy on electoral reforms as well as to mobilize and motivate citizens to participate in electoral processes. This is in light of the continued voter apathy arising from lack of integrity on electoral processes.
2. Participants noted that voter education is critical in strengthening the capacity of citizens to demand for accountable, transparent, free and fair elections.
3. In light of the linkage between elections and service delivery, participants noted that there is need to push for electoral reforms which are linked to service delivery so that citizens will have an understanding of how their vote will impact on access to social services. The need to push for duty bearers at council level to have power in terms of decision making as a way of enhancing accountability will also be a key advocacy issue. This is line with the principle of devolution as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
4. The meeting acknowledged the need to push for Executive Mayors at councils across the country. This is in light of the fact that technocrats have become more powerful than elected officials and in some instances, appear to be pushing partisan agendas
5. On natural resource governance, the meeting acknowledged that local communities must benefit, be involved and have a voice in the management of natural resources within their localities.
6. Participants bemoaned the perpetual abuse of Section 129(k) by politicians through the ongoing recalls of Councilors and Members of Parliament which is working against representative democracy, crippling accountability mechanisms and rendering residents powerless, hence the need to come up with provisions in the Electoral Act that will operationalize Section 129(k) of the Constitution to allow involvement of citizens in the recall process of elected officials.
7. Attendants concurred that there is need to push for a youth and women’s quota system in the composition of both local and provincial councils and that allocation processes for the women’s quota should be inclusive and transparent.
8. The meeting acknowledged the need to strengthen operational structures of Residents Associations as well as the need to engage with key stakeholders on issues related to elections. Participants also acknowledged the need for a robust voter mobilization drive deliberately targeting youths, women and people living with disabilities as well as first time voters ahead of the 2023 elections
9. The meeting acknowledged the need to push for a diaspora vote in the upcoming 2023 elections
Done on September 16, 2021
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
Combined Harare Residents Association
Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association
Chitungwiza and Manyame Rural Residents Association
Combined Mvurwi Residents and Ratepayers Association
Chinhoyi Residents and Ratepayers Association
Gweru Residents Forum
Epworth Residents Development Association
Marondera Residents Open Forum
Marondera Residents Association
Marondera Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Association
Masvingo Residents Forum
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance
Ruwa Residents and Ratepayers Association Trust
Simukai Residents Association
United Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association
Wedza Rural Development Initiative Trust