Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Church leaders speak out on the election road map

Information Department
Church leaders c have called for an independent electoral commission and an updated voter’s roll as well as a non partisan security system as part of the major issues before the holding of elections in Zimbabwe. This came out during a Church and Elections Think Tank meeting organized by Habakkuk Trust on Wednesday 11 May 2011 at Habakkuk Trust UMkhankaso Centre.
Some of the issues that the Church leaders demanded include:
• Culture of violence need to be addressed
• Police and all civil servants should be non partisan
• Need for print and electronic media reforms
• Amendment of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA)
• Civic society to carry out voter education
• Establishment of an electoral court
• Timely accreditation of local observers
• Early deployment of SADC observers
• Access to Information Protection and Privacy Act (AIPPA) need to be revisited
Habakkuk Trust has organized a series of sector based think tank meetings for various civics that are meant to critically discuss and inform the electoral process in Zimbabwe. Today the organization shall be hosting another Think Tank with the youths.

Thursday the 12th of May saw youths from various institutions, civic groups and community interest groups in Bulawayo coming together to deliberate on the issue of the election roadmap in a think tank meeting organized by Habakkuk Trust at UMkhankaso Centre. This comes as a result of the proposed SADC facilitated election roadmap for Zimbabwe.
The youths noted that the problem lies with the political parties as they do not have programmes that encourage youths to vote or partake in any political activities, ‘the exclusion of the youths start within the political party structures as they use them as observers. We need youths vying for Councilors and Members of parliament posts so that the fellow youths can identify with them,’ lamented Mlungisi Dube a youth commenting on the issue why youths of today lack enthusiasm on political issues.
The issue of delinking the security forces from the political processes came out strongly as the youths vowed that it is going to be a lengthier process than what it is expected to be. ‘Our problem as a country is a security force that is linked to political processes and to delink them will take longer periods than expected,’ noted Darlington Gama. The issue of the security sector reforms has been deemed as paramount in the run up to the elections as opposition parties demand the declaration of non-partisanship by service chiefs who had be viewed as partisan in the previous elections.
Other major issues that came out of this meeting are:
• The urgent need to enact media reforms
• The cleaning up of the voter’s role
• The youths being encouraged to engage in group voter registration
• The utilization of the social networks such as Twitter and Face book for information dissemination
• The need to encourage youths to partake in political processes
• The youths being the game changers in Zimbabwean politics
Habakkuk Trust will continue to host such fora meant to gather people’s views on key governance, policy, human rights and development issues with the aim of increasing citizen participation in such processes as well as influencing policy.