By A Correspondent| As calls for electoral reforms gather momentum ahead of the 2023 elections, residents associations’ across the country have initiated a campaign for a grassroots based approach in calling for reforms to the country’s electoral laws and practices.
The campaign, which seeks to raise citizen agency in demanding electoral reforms across the country is being coordinated by the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA).
The campaign is also using information dissemination and civic education across the country as tools for building citizen agency.
CHRA Director, Loreen Mupasiri said it is critical to build public discourse around issues of elections, human rights as well as service delivery.
“Information dissemination and civic education are some of the key interventions that we are using to build citizen agency. Our interventions are located in the power of information as a sensitization tool that invokes questions, debate as well as influence public discourse on elections, human rights and service delivery. Information packaging is a key strategy that ensures that whatever information is disseminated to citizens can be decoded easily and resonates to the day to day challenges that citizens are facing,” said Mupasiri.
This month, the Residents’ Associations launched a voter mobilization campaign which seeks to among other things, push for Executive Mayors across the country as well as to ensure community involvement in the management of natural resources.
The campaign also seeks to strengthen the operational structures of residents’ associations in their engagement with policy maker on issues related to elections.
Mupasiri added that creating platforms for engagements between citizens and key decision makers is critical in terms of amplifying the voice of grassroots communities as well as promoting transparency and accountability.
“Citizens have a critical role in demanding free and fair elections through strategic engagement and dialogue with key decision-makers, proffering policy alternatives, monitoring of the human rights situation in the communities for purposes of evidence gathering. It is important for citizens to have evidence that supports engagement and policy recommendations. We believe that advocacy on electoral reforms should be organic and community driven, hence the importance of raising awareness and building capacity,” said Mupasiri.