Elections lobby group, Election Resource Center (ERC) will this year take their vote mobilization campaign to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in an effort to expand voter education ahead of harmonized polls set for July/August.
Speaking in Harare today, ERC Board Chairman, Trust Maanda told the media that his organisation seeks to take advantage of the largely young crowd at HIFA to educate, mainly, ‘virgin voters’.
“We want to take the mage to HIFA and share with them the nature of the work that we do. We also want share with them the information on the election, democracy and how to observe and monitor elections.We also want the people to go and register and participate in the activities that pertain the election because that’s their right. So basically we will be telling them to exercise their right,” said Maanda.
He said their major goal will be to discourage voter apathy.
Maanda added that although they are encouraged by the response from their previous outreach programs, more still needs to be done in as far as encouraging people to register to vote is concerned.
He also bemoaned the slow process in the amending of electoral reforms by the government.
“We are not happy at the pace at which the process of electoral reforms is going but half a loaf is better than nothing.There are a lot of things which we think need to be in place in order for elections to be credible, fair and free. We still keep asking the powers that be to take that into consideration particularly issues to do with access to the polling booth and things like the diaspora vote as well as the elderly and things like the diaspora vote, we need to make noise with regards to that.
“We need to see reforms with regards to the access and dissemination of information as well,” he said.
The country is heading for general elections this year and there have been calls, mainly by the opposition front, to have reforms in place before the elections are held.
MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa recently threatened to abscond from the elections if reforms are not enacted.
The United States and the United Kingdom governments together with the western countries, have urged Mnangagwa to speed up reforms as part of re-engagement efforts.