Non-governmental organisations interested in conducting voter education ahead of the 2023 harmonised elections will have to declare their source of funding, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has said.
In a statement, ZEC said the objective of the voter education collaboration between ZEC and CSOs, PVOs and FBOs is to increase the participation of voters in the elections.
“The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is mandated by the Constitution of Zimbabwe (Chapter 12: Section 238) to conduct and supervise voter education. The Commission is inviting Civic Society Organisations (CSOs), Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) and Faith Based Organisations (FBOs), including those that were authorised to conduct Voter Education before this date, to submit new applications for accreditation by the Commission as Voter Educators,” said ZEC.
“The overall objective of the voter education collaboration between ZEC and CSOs/PVOs/FBOs is to strengthen the democratic process through raising awareness on the significance of electoral processes among Zimbabwean voters and increase their participation in elections.”
ZEC said the requirements for CSOs and PVOs are stipulated in section 40C of the Zimbabwe Electoral Act Chapter 2.13 which specifies that an organisation must consist wholly or mainly of citizens or permanent residents of Zimbabwe domiciled in Zimbabwe.
“Must be a lawfully constituted trust, the majority of whose trustees are of citizens or permanent residents of Zimbabwe domiciled in Zimbabwe; and should be an association or trust, that must be registered as a private voluntary organisation in terms of the Private Voluntary Organisations Act [Chapter 17:05]; or registered in the Deeds Registry as a trust,” they said.
ZEC said the organisation must be mandated by its constitution or trust deed, as the case may be, to provide voter education; and must employ individuals who are citizens or permanent residents of Zimbabwe to conduct any voter education.
“For this the organisation can furnish the Commission with all the names, addresses, citizenship or residence status and qualifications of the individuals who will conduct voter education,” they said.
Meanwhile, ZEC said the organisations should be in a position to disclose their source of funding for its proposed voter education activities.
“Must disclose the manner and sources of funding of its proposed voter education activities; the voter education is subject to section 40F, (whereunder, foreign contributions or donations may be channelled to the Commission for onward allocation) funded solely by local contributions or donations. Must satisfy the Commission that it is not otherwise disqualified in terms of subsection (1) from providing voter education,” they said.
In addition, when it comes to FBOs, ZEC said the voter education must be conducted in accordance with a course or programme of instruction furnished or approved by the commission.
“FBOs are also guided by section 40C of the Zimbabwe Electoral Act Chapter 2.13, which specifies that Voter Education: must be conducted by an organisation consisting wholly or mainly of citizens or permanent residents of Zimbabwe domiciled in Zimbabwe; voter education must be conducted in accordance with a course or programme of instruction furnished or approved by the Commission,” said ZEC.
They added that the material to be used should not be misleading or biased in favour of any political party.
“The voter education materials to be used and the course or programme of instruction in accordance with which the voter education is conducted must be adequate, current, gender sensitive, correct and not misleading or biased in favour of any political party; and the voter education materials to be used and the course or programme of instruction in accordance with which the voter education is conducted must be furnished to the Commission for its scrutiny,” said ZEC.
The commission said no fee or charge shall be levied for the provision of voter education or voter education materials.
The deadline for the application is 19 May 2023 and applications should be sent to the Chief Elections Officer in Harare.