By ZimRights Information Department
As the 2018 harmonised elections in Zimbabwe draw closer, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has been carrying out different programs in many parts of the country to encourage people to fully participate in the electoral processes.
These grassroots programs under the #10×10 Tese kunovhota/Sonke Siyevota campaign, include citizen manifesto forums for peace, candidate forums, and community radio talkshows, human rights trainings and Go Out and Vote roadshows.
On Monday, July 9, 2018, ZimRights held a human rights clinic at Ntabazinduna in Matebeleland North province, where participants received civic and voter education as well as legal advice on human rights-related matters.
Among the partners present were Emtonjeni Women’s Forum, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Peace Project and Civic Forum.
At the human rights clinic, citizens enhanced their understanding of human rights issues, asked questions about how to tackle challenges facing them in the communities and received informational material such as T-Shirts, caps and fliers encouraging them to participate in the forthcoming elections.
On Saturday, July 7, 2018, ZimRights held a community peace manifesto forum in Luveve in Bulawayo metropolitan province to encourage communities to pledge to uphold peace especially during the electoral campaign season.
On the same day in Murehwa, Mashonaland East, ZimRights held a roadshow to encourage citizens in the area to vote when the country goes for polling in the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections scheduled for July 30.
On Friday, July 6, 2018, ZimRights conducted a voter mobilisation roadshow in Magunje in Mashonaland West and a candidate forum in Mt. Darwin in Mashonaland Central.
The Mt. Darwin candidate forum was attended by seven aspiring councillors and four aspiring Members of Parliament from the People’s Rainbow Coalition (PRC), the National Patriotic Front (NPF) and the MDC Alliance.
These cndiadtes are Julius Musevenzi for PRC and Caleb Karima for NPF in Mt. Darwin West, and Chaurura Respect for MDC Alliance and Cain Kajokoto for PRC in Mt. Darwin East.
Citizens had the chance to speak to candidates and air their views, including one citizen only identified as Manyika, who said: “We need to look outside the box as Mt. Darwin citizens. Why can’t we vote for a candidate who has the capacity not just for a political party because we are tired of fake promises?”
ZimRights provincial chairperson for Mashonaland Central, Kelvin Nzimba, urged the community to maintain peace and candidats to campaign without trading insults.
Said Nzimba: “Campaigning is not about insulting your opponents. It is about presenting your manifesto and convincing the electorate that yours, and only yours, is the perfect one to address their needs. Let’s reflect on the type of leaders we would want come July 30.”
Aspiring councillor for Ward 9 from the MDC Alliance, Antony Chiramba urged the people of Zimbabwe to seek real transformation in their lives rather than changing leaders for the sake of it.
He said: “Changing the face can change nothing but facing the change can change everything.”
Some of the candidates of opposition parties complained about the difficulties they face in penetrating some of the areas like Dotito because of intimidation.
ZimRights is continuing with community interventions, which also include distributing bulks SMS to encourage citizen engagement and participation ahead of the harmonised elections which are now less than a month away.