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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Bulawayo Agenda activity update
    Bulawayo Agenda

    July 02, 2013

    Community Witnesses Training-Nkayi Centre

    Twenty Nkayi ‘Community Witnesses’, comprising two traditional leaders, Nkayi Agenda Chapter Committee members, Community Based Organizations among others attended training on information gathering, documentation and dissemination, lobbying and advocacy. The main objective of the training was to capacitate community witnesses with citizen journalism skills which will assist them in the process of information gathering and reporting on important governance issues, with immediate focus on the forthcoming elections. It was also meant to enhance their lobbying and advocacy skills so as to improve public participation in governance and accountability.

    Before acquiring knowledge on the fundamentals of information gathering and lobbying CWs were briefed on the legislative reforms that have been completed since the inception of the Inclusive government. They were also updated on the recent Constitutional Court ruling which culminated in the nomination court sitting on the 28th of June.

    The CWs were trained on the following areas:

    Role of Community Witnesses: CWs act as community watchdogs and provide information on developments that need the attention of those in power. They also operate as a connection between their communities and the outside world by providing information. CWs also gather and disseminate important information on governance that assists communities in their lobbying and advocacy drives.

    Principles of Community Witnessing: It was emphasized that CWs must take heed to the basic principles of information gathering and dissemination when carrying out their duties. These include accuracy, fairness, impartiality, independence and thoroughness.

    Information Gathering Techniques: Participants were also trained on information gathering techniques such as interviews, observation and research. The research technique was emphasized because it plays an important role in verifying whatever information is being reported on.

    Reporting: CWs were trained on basic reporting skills. They were taught to answer the critical, ‘5Ws and an H, questions: what, who, when, why, where and how, when reporting’. This would help them compile comprehensive reports.

    Community Peace Building Meeting-Guwe

    On the same day, Bulawayo Agenda, through its Nkayi chapter, held a Community Peace Building Meeting in Guwe village in Nkayi. 132 community members including 1 (one) headman and two village heads attended the meeting. The meeting discussed the socio-political situation as the country draws closer to elections, politically motivated conflict and other sources of conflict in the area. Means of ensuring that elections are peaceful and credible in the area were also discussed.

    Below are some of the highlights of the meeting;

    On politically motivated violence: Villagers accused politicians of fueling violence in the area through schemes such as partisan distribution of food aid and sponsoring of ‘war vets’ and devious youths to mete out violence against opponents. They, however, vowed to continue to stand up against violence and/or intimidation and vote for their desired candidates.

    Mobile Voter Registration: The villagers argued that the lack of transparency in the process will result in a contested election outcome which has a potential of fueling more conflict in the villages and across the country.

    Pledge for peace by local leaders: The traditional leaders and political activists who attended the meeting pledged peace in the forthcoming elections, however, warning that the elections could still be ‘rigged’ peacefully. They argued that the recent party primary elections showed political parties’ resolve to manipulate figures as they inflated their own numbers thus literally claiming every ward member to be their member in some instances.

    Traditional leaders contesting in forthcoming elections: Villagers revealed that more than 10 traditional leaders had filed their papers with the nomination court to be councilors on a Zanu-PF ticket (NB. Bulawayo Agenda is still verifying this information). This would compromise them in discharging their duties.

    Bulawayo Agenda gave feedback on the ongoing preparation for the forth-coming elections. Villagers were also encouraged to register to vote peacefully and set the foundation for development in their communities.

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