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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Plumtree Multi-Stakeholders meeting
    Bulawayo Agenda

    June 26, 2013

    More than 50 Plumtree local leaders comprising traditional leaders (Headman and 2 village heads) local councilor, JOMIC representative, representatives of political parties (Zanu-PF, MDC, ZAPU,) and heads of Community Based Organizations participated in a Multi-stakeholders Meeting on Peace held in Plumtree on Saturday (22/06/13). The meeting, organized by Plumtree Agenda, a Chapter of Bulawayo Agenda, brought together these various stakeholders to engage and dialogue on ways of promoting peace and tolerance in the area and contributing to the credibility of the forthcoming watershed elections.

    Below are some of the highlights of the meeting:

    • Electoral processes: After receiving feedback from Bulawayo Agenda Executive Director on the SADC resolution on election dates, voter registration exercise and other developments around preparations for elections, stakeholders emphasized the need for key reforms before elections for them to be credible, free and fair.
    • Participants were urged to be monitors and reporters of any discrepancies in their communities objectively and truthfully for the creation of a conducive environment that will lead to protection of the citizens and their votes.
    • Mobile Voter Registration: There were complaints that some residents could not register as they did not have proof of residence and also lacked information on the ongoing voter registration process.
    • Participants raised concerns on the voter education process which they said should have been carried out before the registration process so as to raise citizens’ awareness on their rights as well as electoral and political developments.
    • JOMIC: Participants dismissed the Code of conduct for political parties presented by Jomic on the basis that it excludes other political parties and does not clearly spell out punitive measures to for offenders.
    • They called for the inclusion of all political parties so that they are guided and bound by it for the protection and security of the vote and voters.
    • Peace and tolerance: The attendant political parties, Zanu-PF, MDC and ZAPU, pledged to uphold peace and protection of the vote and voters. When pressed to fully outline mechanisms to stop and punish their members who engage in violence, they failed to convince the stakeholders and were thus encouraged to develop such.
    • MDC and ZAPU pledged to take disciplinary action on any party member found guilty of perpetrating violence as per their codes of conduct. However, Zanu-PF said it will be “up to the police” to arrest their party members when they are involved in violence. In the past police have been accused of failing to arrest Zanu-PF supporters who would have perpetrated violence or releasing them without any charges or without being brought before the courts.
    • Political parties were further challenged to practice what they preach and make sure that messages of peace cascade down to their lowest structures as it is people on the ground (the supporters) who usually perpetrate violence.
    • Traditional leaders’ role versus elections: On behalf of traditional leaders, Headman Hikwa challenged other traditional leaders to be apolitical and serve the interests of people without any discrimination as she has been doing.
    • She pointed out that traditional leaders have a key role to keep the community cohesive through denouncing violence and remaining apolitical as the people they serve have different political, social and cultural interests and beliefs.
    • Headman Hikwa also bemoaned lack of information access to the communities in Plumtree especially on electoral processes and political developments urging Bulawayo Agenda and like-minded civil society organisations to increase information dissemination especially to rural areas.

    The meeting was one of the platforms created by Bulawayo Agenda in a bid to promote peace and tolerance within communities as the nation prepares for the watershed elections. Peace concerts have also been held in various areas where the usually marginalized social groups such as women and youths had the opportunity to participate, share their experiences and network on how to promote peace even at household levels. MDC-T was invited but sent in an apology as they failed to attend.

    Visit the Bulawayo Agenda fact sheet

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