By Fortune Dlamini
Civic organizations, churches and other stakeholders should identify ways in which they can take part in mapping the way forward and have clear objectives and agendas if they are to ensure maximum participation of the electorate in the June 27 elections and its aftermath, said Pastor Useni Sibanda.
Pastor Sibanda said this at a Civic Organizations Consultative Meeting that was held in Bulawayo on Saturday 31 May 2008, which was attended by various civic groups, representatives of churches and the media.
Mr Gorden Moyo, Executive Director of Bulawayo Agenda said civic society should know various international dynamics that are diverting the people’s attention from achieving its objectives.
“There are international obstacles that are affecting the country, which we need to be aware of. China, for example has been pampering Zanu-PF with money and campaign material such as agriculture equipment and computers. We need to expose the hypocrisy of China and play the name and shame game,” he said.
Mr Moyo said there were also some regional obstacles such as the SADC, which was failing to take a solid position on the Zimbabwe situation. He pointed out that SADC has a clause that prohibits its member states from interfering in the internal affairs African states. He stated that the clause is being used by SADC to stop help from coming to Zimbabwe.
There was also a recommendation that elections should not be ward based as there are thousands of Zimbabweans who have been displaced. There was a recommendation that Zimbabwe Electoral Commission compose a list of all the displaced people and set up centers where these people can vote from. This is important as most of the people who were displaced during the political are afraid to go back to their wards to vote.
Voter education was one of the most important issues that was raised and it was resolved that all stakeholders should be in the fore-front of encouraging the electorate to go and vote in the 27 June Presidential elections. All stakeholders were encouraged to go into their respective constituencies and areas and tell people to go and vote.
The stakeholders also recommended and resolved that they come up with a position paper for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to announce the results after a stipulated time frame. This position paper will be compiled and sent to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission as a stance, which has been taken by all the stakeholders who were present at the consultative meeting.