Wednesday, June 12, 2013

(HERALD ZW) NGO voter education scam exposed
Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter

GOVERNMENT is considering restricting voter education to political parties after unearthing nefarious dealings aimed at manipulating the process by some non-governmental organisations engaged to undertake the initiative.

One such organisation, the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa contracted by ZEC has incorporated information carrying political messages favouring certain parties.

The pamphlets carrying these political messages have a ZEC logo and are titled “Voter Registration: Your vote is your right”.

They are set to be distributed countrywide as part of voter education.
Some of the information in Shona pamphlets reads: “Nyoresa uunze shanduko. Usasaririre.”

In some cases the pamphlets are written; “Register to make a difference. Do not be left out.”

The change mantra being insinuated in the messages is associated with the MDC-T slogan, “Chinja maitiro” that dovetails with the party’s regime change agenda.

Although Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa could not be reached for a comment yesterday, highly-placed sources said in view of this, Government was contemplating limiting voter education to political parties.

“ZEC has picked up this. As Government we are slowly convinced that we should restrict voter education to political parties,” said the source.

“That is evidence with the mischief that can take place.”
Government, the source said, would not allow NGOs to campaign for certain political parties under the guise of voter education.

The Herald is reliably informed that this hatchet job is a brainchild of the United States of America which is the principal funder of EISA.

EISA, which operates in several African countries, claims to be a non-profit organisation.
By its own admission, EISA has actively participated in electoral processes of many African countries.

According to EISA, its executive director Mr Dennis Kadima participated in about 50 electoral processes worldwide in different capacities.

Mr Kadima, who once worked for the United Nations, had many publications on political party systems, electoral systems and processes and election observation.

“Our vision is to have an African continent where democratic governance, human rights and citizen participation are held in a peaceful environment,” reads EISA’s vision statement.

EISA claims that it worked in a number of programmes including democracy, conflict management, election education, elections and political processes, balloting and electoral services and research and information among others.

The organisation was established in 1996 and is based in Johannesburg, South Africa, with field offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chad, Mozambique, Kenya and Madagascar and has opened a new office in Harare.

Western funded organisations have of late been more active in Zimbabwe’s politics as the country’s heads for elections due by July 31.

Some of the organisation which are de facto MDC-T appendages have been funded to the tune of US$2 million by the British embassy in Harare to launch an advocacy campaign programme code-named “Feya Feya’’ ostensibly to demand a “free and fair” election in Zimbabwe.

The funding, which is being channelled through the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, was expected to culminate in a Leaders Conference at Pandhari Lodge in Harare on May 30 and 31 where the quasi-political groups were to draw up a list of demands pertaining to the holding of the harmonised elections.

The indaba was, however, cancelled after it was exposed in the media.
The same groups also convened in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia ahead of the African Union golden jubilee celebrations where they wanted to lobby African leaders on what they said were minimum conditions for the holding of free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

The campaign to buttress the MDC-T reform mantra by the groups that convened under the banner of the Zimbabwe Civil Society Heads of Coalitions however, hit a snag after the AU Golden Jubilee Organising Committee told them to leave as it had not made provision for non-State actors.

Mr Tsvangirai was subsequently forced to cancel his planned sojourn to Addis Ababa in the wake of the grief that befell his advance team.

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