By Bulawayo Correspondent
A CONSORTIUM of Bulawayo based civil organisations Friday launched a campaign which seeks to mobilise citizens in the Matabeleland region to participate in electoral processes.
Matabeleland region is at risk of losing a number of constituencies and wards due to fewer number of registered voters.
Constituencies such as Matobo North, Insiza South, Bulilima West, Magwegwe and Gwanda South are likely to be adversely affected by the coming delimitation exercise if people in the region do not register to vote.
Speaking during the Ekhaya Vote 2023 launch, guest of honor, Samukheliso Khumalo attributed the region’s widespread voter apathy to the absence of sustainable community – based initiatives that mobilise citizens particularly youths and women to participate in electoral processes.
“Previous voter registration patterns have translated into Matebeleland provinces particularly Bulawayo having fewer constituencies compared to other provinces and the continuation of this trend could see less constituencies in the province before the 2023 elections,” Khumalo said.
“This reflects a growing lack of confidence in elections as a vehicle for socio-economic and even political transformation or change,” said Khumalo, who is also the founder and Executive Director of Women’s Institute for Leadership Trust (WILD).
The WILD Director said the consortium will embark on massive voter education campaigns, increase election awareness, grassroots mobilization and enhance civic participation as well as creating a favorable environment ahead of the 2023 elections.
“In our diversity, lies our strength as organizations within the coalition who have vast experience in conducting voter registration, civic education, mobilization, content creation, innovation as well as observing elections and interfacing electoral candidates with communities,” she said.
Khumalo added that the campaign also envisages influencing the electoral system to consider de-harmonizing and give prominence to elections at a local level.
The organisers of the campaign have so far held a meeting with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) over the role of civic participation in electoral processes.
“We believe in dialogue and good working relationships for cross-learning and idea sharing for a conducive space for civic participation,” added Khumalo.
Some of the organizations which are part of the consortium include Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association, Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association, Centre for Innovation and Technology, Habakkuk Trust, Ibhetshu Likazulu and Young Women ‘s Alliance.