A local pro-democracy lobby group, the Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (Zesn), has announced a new governance board with Irene Petras retaining her post as vice-chairperson while Reverend Solomon Zwana was elected board chairman.
Zwana took over from prominent lawyer Tinoziva Bere, whose term expired this month after being in office for five years.
Zwana is a seasoned human rights defender, academic, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and also sits on various local and international boards.
Petras, who is director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, was re-elected Zesn board vice-chairperson in elections held last Friday.
Zesn is a coalition of 31 non-governmental organisations that work together to promote the holding of democratic elections in Zimbabwe.
Other organisations represented on the new Zesn board are: Bulawayo Agenda, Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust, Combined Harare Residents’ Association, Counselling Services Unit, National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped, Transparency International Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Lawyers’ for Human Rights, Zimbabwe Peace Project, the Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association and Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe.
“The new Zesn leadership comes in at a time when Zimbabwe is faced with numerous socio-economic and political challenges and prospects that require perseverance, courage and strength in the fight for the democratisation of electoral and human rights processes in Zimbabwe,” Zesn said in a statement released last week.
“The country is currently in the process of crafting a new constitution, a referendum for which is expected before the end of the year. There are also vital Acts being deliberated in Parliament and these are the Electoral Amendment Act and the Human Rights Commission Act.”